Monkeypox: Pregnant women and children at risk

There are now many cases of monkeypox in Germany. Photo: Bigstock

The requirements for the mask fell, and events and travel became possible again without any problems: Finally, we return to everyday life that is closer to what it was before the Corona pandemic. But once the coronavirus is more or less contained, a new infection is already spreading in Germany: monkeypox.

First of all: experts don’t assume there will be another nationwide epidemic. The current outbreak of monkeypox is no reason to panic. However, we would like to tell you about the infection, its symptoms and possible consequences.

The spread of monkeypox in Europe

It started with six cases in the UK in mid-May, according to Tageschau. Subsequently, the health authorities learned of the infection and it is now clear that cases of monkeypox have also occurred in other countries: Victims occurred in Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. Also in North America, Latin America and Australia. Now cases have also occurred in Germany.

Germany’s first case of monkeypox became known in Munich on May 20, and three more cases have now been reported in Berlin, the NDR reported. Also in North Rhine-Westphalia, authorities are now monitoring indications of “possible contacts of people infected with monkeypox”.

How dangerous is monkeypox to children and pregnant women?

In most infected people, monkeypox infection goes away on its own and leaves no permanent damage. However, children are among the most vulnerable groups of the population. Their mortality rate from infection is much higher than that of the older groups.

Pregnant women are also at greater risk because, in the worst case, the virus can pass to the unborn child. In such a situation, complications of pregnancy or miscarriage can occur.

The severity of monkeypox also depends on the type of virus. Because what many do not know: There are two types of viruses, the West African type and the Congo Basin type. According to previous information, the recent cases in Great Britain are due to the less lethal type of West African virus. The death rate from this virus is about one percent.


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Recognizing monkeypox: these are the symptoms

Experts are now trying to identify chains of infection and other potential victims. Medical staff should be aware of this so that they can recognize monkeypox infection as such.

Symptoms about 1-2 weeks after infection:

  • fever
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • Head, back and muscle pain

Symptoms after the onset of fever

  • A typical blister-like rash that may be very itchy or painful (usually on the face, often on the hands, feet, and mucous membranes of the mouth)

However, monkeypox can also be so mild that infected people go unnoticed. Unfortunately, this increases the risk of accidentally transmitting the infection to other people.

How is monkeypox transmitted?

Monkeypox is transmitted by droplets in the air we breathe, and infected blisters on the skin are contagious. According to the Robert Koch Institute, sexual transmission is also possible. According to the current state of knowledge, the chain of infection in humans is limited: the longest known chain of infection is six.

How to protect yourself from monkeypox

Health authorities are currently working to break the chain of infection. Therefore, the search for people in contact with the infected is the highest priority. In addition, an effective vaccine already exists. According to the World Health Organization, it is offered to people with increased risks.

But the current situation is no cause for panic, according to Jamie Withworth, professor of international public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “This will not lead to a nationwide epidemic like Covid did. But it is a serious outbreak of a dangerous disease.

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