More and more cases of monkeypox are becoming known in Europe and the first case has now been officially confirmed in Germany. But how can you protect yourself from infection and is there already a vaccine?
Munich – The UK health authority, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), reported the first case of monkeypox on May 14. Since then, suspected cases and evidence of monkeypox have been reported from more and more countries. The first case in Germany has now been officially confirmed. The outbreak raises many questions – including whether there is a protective vaccine.
Monkeypox in Germany: these are the symptoms
- Sudden onset of fever
- Head, muscle, neck and back pain
- Severely itchy rash typical of smallpox
- Swollen lymph nodes
Monkeypox: how to protect yourself from transmission?
Monkeypox is transmitted through close contact with an infected person or animal. Contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets, or material contaminated with the virus also leads to infection.
In order to protect yourself from infection with the virus, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) advises avoiding contact with and consumption of potentially infected animals such as monkeys and various rodents in endemic areas. Hygiene measures when dealing with sick people should also be strictly observed.
Monkeypox Outbreak: Is There a Vaccine?
There is currently no approved vaccination against monkeypox in Germany. But according to the RKI, vaccination against smallpox also protects against monkeypox due to the similarity of the viruses. In a tweet, University of Birmingham smallpox expert Jason Mercer said the vaccine was 85 percent effective against monkeypox four days after contact with an infected person.
A smallpox vaccine containing modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) has been approved in the EU. This is a two-dose vaccine whose availability is still limited according to the WHO. In the USA and Canada, the vaccine MVA-BN is also approved against monkeypox. According to the WHO, scientific studies are also underway to assess the feasibility and adequacy of vaccination to prevent and control monkeypox.
Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) said on May 24 that Germany had already ordered 40,000 doses of a monkeypox vaccine approved in the United States. However, the procedure for vaccinations has not yet been finally clarified. RKI President Lothar Wieler said the monkeypox vaccine had significantly fewer side effects than a normal smallpox vaccine.
Infection with monkeypox: A drug provides relief
A medicine to treat orthopoxvirus infection was recently approved in the EU for the treatment of monkeypox by the European Medical Association (EMA). The so-called tecovirimate works by interacting with a protein on the surface of the pathogen and preventing it from multiplying. According to the WHO, however, the antiviral agent is not yet available across the board. (rrm)
#Monkeypox #Vaccination #Germany #Vaccines #Drugs