Lauterbach on monkeypox: The situation is serious, but it is not a pandemic science

Bremen – Germany wants to control the spread of monkeypox by quickly isolating the infected.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) said Tuesday on the sidelines of German Doctors’ Day in Bremen that a firm and early response must be taken. He stressed, “What we are witnessing now of monkeypox is not the beginning of a new epidemic.” It is a known pathogen and we know how to combat it. Good and careful contact tracing can take control of the situation.

At the same time, Lauterbach said development should be taken seriously. It is not yet known why international outbreaks are different this time than in the past. It is possible that the pathogen or susceptibility to infection has changed. If outbreaks are contained early, it can be realized that the pathogen does not settle in humans.

At least 21 days of quarantine

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recommends isolating those infected until the crusts have fallen off, but for at least 21 days, said RKI President Lothar Wheeler. For close contacts, a 21-day quarantine is recommended. The disease is accompanied by skin changes that go through different stages – and eventually the areas peel off. The recommendation on isolation and quarantine is recommended for countries responsible for implementation, Lauterbach explained.

Weller said his institute assumes an increase in monkeypox diseases in Germany. Obviously, more cases are expected in this country. Most people usually recover from monkeypox within a few weeks, Wheeler said. However, some people can become seriously ill. It is not easy for pathogens to pass from person to person, close contact is essential. The virus can be transmitted regardless of sexual orientation, gender and age. According to current knowledge, the risks to the health of the general population are considered low.

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Risks are still low

More than 250 cases of monkeypox have been reported from 16 countries to the World Health Organization. However, this number of confirmed infections and suspected cases only affects countries where the viral disease has not occurred regularly, WHO expert Rosamund Lewis said Tuesday in Geneva. The current increase in cases is worrying, but the risk to the public is low.

Most of those infected in many countries who have recently become known for RKI have been infected in large events “related to sexual activities,” Wheeler said. If an unusual rash occurs, for example, and monkeypox is suspected, you should go to the doctor immediately.

“We are in the early stages of this outbreak,” Wheeler said. Much is still unknown, but the situation is closely monitored. Several federal states have already reported evidence of infection, including Saxony-Anhalt, Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Berlin and Bavaria. Samples from several other people are being analyzed, and authorities are also looking for contacts who have tested positive.

At the beginning of May, a case of monkeypox was discovered in Great Britain – according to experts, the pathogen was probably already spreading in many countries. According to health authorities, the virus usually causes only mild symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches and rash.

However, monkeypox can also have acute courses, and fatal illnesses are likely in individual cases. The consequences of surviving infection can be scarring and, rarely, blindness.

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