Monkeypox Detected in Germany, 11 Countries Outside Africa Hit by Outbreak

Germany reported its first confirmed case of monkeypox in the country on Friday, according to reports. This takes the total of countries outside of Africa dealing with the disease to 11.

The 11 countries that have confirmed cases are Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the U.K, the U.S. and now Germany.

Monkeypox
Stock image of Monkeypox lesions. Monkeypox has been detected in Germany, making it 11 countries outside Africa to have now been hit by the outbreak. Getty Images

The Bundeswehr Institute for Microbiology announced on Friday in Munich that the virus was detected in a patient on Thursday, according to a Spiegel report that has been translated into English by Google.

Monkeypox, a rare viral infection, is spread by wild animals and is generally found in forested areas of western and central Africa. It is spread via contact and droplet exposure via exhalation.

It is a zoonotic disease, meaning it spreads from animals to humans. The animal reservoir is unknown, the World Health Organization said, but it is thought to be from rodents. "Contact with live and dead animals through hunting and consumption of wild game or bush meat are known risk factors," the WHO said.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach spoke about the inevitability of monkeypox spreading further as cases began popping up in Europe.

"It was only a matter of time before monkeypox was also detected in Germany," he said.

"Based on the knowledge available so far, we assume that the virus is not so easily transmitted and that this outbreak can be contained.

"We will now analyze the virus more closely and see if it is a more contagious variant."

The normal incubation period is between six and 13 days, but can be up to 21 days.

Initial symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, body aches, chills and exhaustion. Patients can then develop a rash, which begins on the face before spreading to other parts of the body and later forming scabs.

While the U.S. has reported cases of monkeypox in the country, health officials have said there is little cause for concern.

The most recent cases of monkeypox in the U.S. occurred in 2021 and involved two travelers who had recently returned to the country from Nigeria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which emphasizes that the disease remains extremely rare in the country.

One of the biggest recent outbreaks, according to the CDC, came in 2003, when 47 confirmed and probable cases of monkeypox were reported in six states—Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

There is no specific vaccine or treatment for monkeypox, although first and second-generation smallpox vaccines have been used to treat some patients during the 2003 outbreak in the U.S., the ECDC says in its factsheet.