Germany, France and Belgium confirmed their first cases of monkeypox on Friday, joining a growing list of countries where rare viral illnesses have occurred outside the general area of the disease in recent days.
What about monkeypox, a rare virus now confirmed in the United States and Europe?
The first case in Germany was registered in Bavaria on Thursday, according to the Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology, a military research center for the German armed forces.
“The Institute of Microbiology of the German Armed Forces in Munich also detected the Monkeypox virus in patients with skin-specific lesions for the first time in Germany on 19 May 2022,” read a statement from the medical service.
The patient was a 26-year-old Brazilian man traveling to Germany, the Bavarian health ministry said in a statement. The man traveled through Portugal and Spain before entering Germany, and before arriving in Munich, he visited Dেলsseldorf and Frankfurt, where he stayed for about a week, according to the statement.
According to state broadcaster Deutsche Welle, it was a “matter of time” before the monkeypox entered the country, German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Friday. Lauterbach said he was confident an outbreak could be contained in a virus that did not appear to be easily transmitted if authorities acted quickly.
“We will now analyze the virus more closely and examine whether it is involved in a more contagious form,” Lauterbach said, according to Reuters.
France’s health ministry on Friday confirmed the country’s first monkeypox case in the Ile-de-France region, including Paris. The agency said in a statement that a 29-year-old man was not in critical condition but was at home. Although the man has not recently traveled to a country where monkeypox has already spread, according to the French Ministry of Health, health authorities have begun a full investigation into the case.
In Belgium, officials at the University Zikenheus Leuven Hospital said they had confirmed two cases of monkeypox in the country, including full genome sequencing.
“Anyone who recognizes an injury like this picture should consult a doctor,” the virologist said Mark Van Ranst wrote in a tweet On Friday morning, I’m sharing a photograph of MonkeyPox’s signature wound.
A spokesman for the Belgian Agency for Care and Health told Reuters that the first infected person had been diagnosed in Antwerp. The man was not seriously ill and was now separated from his partner. Van Ranst wrote on Twitter that the second patient was a man diagnosed with Flemish Brabant.
Flemish broadcaster VRTNWS reported Friday that although the two patients were diagnosed in different parts of the country, they could join the same party.
Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbrুকck said the government was closely monitoring the situation.
“Does this mean we have to fear a major outbreak here now?” We don’t think so, “Vandenbrook told VRTNWS. “But as always, you have to use caution and foresight.”
Although monkeypox is not often lethal, its spread to a dozen countries in Australia, Europe and North America has surprised virologists as many seem to have no connection to its traditional bases in Central and West Africa. The disease is not known to spread easily to humans, but instead spreads to humans through contact with animals.