First monkeypox cases confirmed in Germany, health ministry expects more

First monkeypox cases confirmed in Germany, health ministry expects more

Germany has joined other European countries in confirming its first cases of monkeypox, in the first multinational outbreak of the virus. 

Four monkeypox cases confirmed in Germany

As of Sunday afternoon, there were four confirmed cases of monkeypox in Germany - one in Munich and three in Berlin. With suspected contact persons currently being traced and samples tested, it’s likely that more cases will emerge over the coming days.

“Due to the many contacts of those currently infected, further diseases are to be expected in Europe and also in Germany,” the Federal Ministry of Health wrote in a report over the weekend. “It is now an event with international distribution.” 

Altogether, more than 130 confirmed and suspected cases have been reported in numerous countries around the world, including the UK, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Canada, Argentina and the USA, marking the first time there has been a major outbreak of the disease outside west and central Africa, and the first time cases have been detected that cannot be linked to travel from these regions. 

Disease usually causes mild symptoms like rash and fever

The disease does not spread easily and usually only causes mild symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pain, swellings and a painful, itchy skin rash, which normally clear up on their own within a few weeks. However, the virus can cause more serious illnesses in children, women in all stages of pregnancy and people with immunodeficiencies. 

The smallpox vaccine is known to give good protection against the monkeypox virus - which in itself is one of the factors behind the current outbreak. Since smallpox was eradicated in the 1970s, countries around the world have stopped routinely administering the smallpox vaccine. Compulsory vaccination was suspended in 1975 in West Germany and in 1982 in East Germany. 

The federal government still has around 100 million doses of smallpox vaccine in stock, and 2 million doses from the supply are being donated to the World Health Organisation to help contain the outbreak. 

RKI: Risk to German population is low

In a risk assessment, the Robert Koch Institute assessed the current risk to the health of the general population of Germany as low. 

The current pattern of infections suggests the virus is spreading primarily through sexual contacts, and so anyone who’s regularly changing partners or having close contacts with individuals they don’t know well have been asked to seek the advice of a doctor if they develop a rash. 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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