What are the risks of infection when traveling?

In Europe, there is currently an increase in the incidence of rare monkeypox, and several cases have been detected in Germany. Some patients could have carried the virus with them from leave. A 30-year-old who was confirmed positive celebrated Saturday at a gay pride party on the holiday island. About 80,000 people from Spain and many other countries took part in the event between May 5-15. Subsequently, cases of monkeypox became known among participants from the neighboring island of Tenerife, Madrid and Italy.

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This 2003 electron micrograph, provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows mature oval-shaped (l) and immature spherical (r) monkeypox viruses collected from a human skin sample associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak.

According to the NHS and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), a viral illness usually causes only mild symptoms, but can also have severe courses.

Perhaps the most prominent symptom of an infectious disease is a typical rash on the face and body in the form of blisters. A cough, fever, muscle aches, and severe headache can also occur. The period between infection and onset of the disease ranges from seven to 21 days. Monkeypox is contagious from day one. Only when the scales of the rash fall off is the risk of infection avoided. This usually takes two to three weeks.

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How high is the risk of injury while on vacation?

Monkeypox has so far been prevalent in rodents mainly in West and Central Africa—cases in humans have been particularly reported in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Gabon. in South Sudan.

“It is also possible to import travelers returning from endemic areas (West and Central Africa) into Germany,” wrote the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on its website. But: “The risk is assessed as low.”

Infection with monkeypox: this is how pathogens are transmitted

Travelers can protect themselves from infection by taking simple measures. The disease can be transmitted from infected animals and humans through droplets that appear when coughing or talking, for example.

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According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), if they infect the mucous membranes of the eyes, mouth, or nose, infection can occur. The drops, however. About compared to the Corona virus, relatively large.

Therefore, person-to-person transmission is rare and can only be achieved through close contact. It is “presumed,” according to the RKI, that pathogens are also transmitted during “sexual acts.”

Infection through contaminated bedding is possible

Direct contact with the rash can also lead to transmission: the crusts or fluids from an infected person’s characteristic blisters can reach your body through the smallest cracks in the skin. Experts in Great Britain have found that transmission is also possible via contaminated bed linen, writes the British specialist portal website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Therefore, when choosing a hotel for the trip, importance should be paid to good hygiene.

Infected animals, especially rodents and monkeys, can transmit the virus to travelers. This occurs mainly through bites, because an infection causes pathogens to pass from saliva into the blood.

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In order to protect yourself from infection while traveling, the following applies: Even if street dogs and cats are vying for attention, travelers should not come into contact with animals and instead stay away from them. This also applies to dead animals and their blood and feces. Contaminated meat can also transmit the virus through small cracks in its skin, for example when preparing food.

Experts advise avoiding contact with animals due to the risk of monkeypox infection.

Experts advise avoiding contact with animals due to the risk of monkeypox infection.

Unpredictable new pandemic situation

If you want to be on the safe side, you can get a smallpox (smallpox) vaccination before you go on vacation. Because the smallpox and monkeypox viruses are very similar, pricking protects against both diseases, RKI explains.

In addition, the institute gives all the clarity: because, according to current knowledge, close contact is required to transmit the pathogen, experts expect “the outbreak will remain limited.” A new epidemiological situation such as the Corona virus cannot be expected.

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This is how Charité contagion scientist Leif Eric Sander sees it. He wrote on Twitter: “The monkeypox outbreak is definitely not a cause for panic right now!” In a globalized world, which also includes travel, one has to “present a constant danger for which we have to prepare better.”

vh / dpa / RND

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