Human-to-human transmission of the monkeypox virus is considered rare, but possible. Anyone who has become infected should therefore isolate themselves – for at least 21 days. All roommates are also affected. It is important to note that.
The monkeypox virus reached Germany in May. On the 19th, the virus was first detected in a patient. In the meantime, 33 people in six federal states have been infected with the virus (as of May 31st). Ascending trend. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) notes rather cautiously: “Further cases are to be expected in Germany.” However, the Institute has so far assessed the risk to the health of the general population as low. The situation will continue to be monitored “very closely”. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach also still does not believe in the possibility of a monkeypox pandemic. It’s not a nice illness, he said in the “Report from Berlin” on “ARD”: “We have to contain it. We don’t want it to get stuck either”.
Anyone who has been infected with the monkeypox virus should stay at home for the time being. The RKI recommends domestic isolation for at least 21 days. Quarantine at home should only be ended when the symptoms have subsided. All household members are also affected by the isolation measures and should stay at home for at least 21 days after the last contact with the infected person and monitor themselves for possible symptoms of the disease. But what has to be considered in such a domestic quarantine? The RKI has summarized the essential points in a flyer.
Monkeypox infection: as few contacts as possible
In order to avoid further transmission, it becomes lonely for those infected. Sick people who live with other people should avoid them if possible and separate themselves in a single room. Common rooms should be used as little as possible, and hands should be cleaned regularly. The RKI recommends disposable towels for drying, but at least each household member should use their own towel. Used laundry from infected people should be stored separately and washed at at least 60 degrees. It is advisable to clean frequently touched surfaces such as smartphones at least once a day, bathroom and toilet surfaces even after each use.
The RKI advises people with risk factors to find accommodation elsewhere if possible during this time. This group of people includes children under the age of 12, the elderly, pregnant women and people with suppressed immune systems. If contact cannot be avoided despite infection, for example because the support of another is required, a safe distance should be maintained. The RKI writes of 1.5 meters. In addition, wearing a mouth and nose protector is recommended, existing skin lesions should be completely covered and physical contact should be completely avoided during this time.
At least 21 days of isolation
These strict precautions are necessary because while transmission from person to person is considered rare, it is possible. Possible transmission routes are direct physical contact, contaminated objects such as bed linen and rarely also droplet infection. It is currently rumored that many of the current transmissions could have occurred through sexual activity. However, according to the RKI, that is not certain yet. In any case, the institute emphasizes that wearing condoms alone does not protect against infection during this time. According to the RKI, cuddling with pets should also be avoided. To prevent human-to-animal transmission, pets should be housed in a separate room during home quarantine.
The symptoms of the infection include an initial fever, headache, muscle and back pain and swollen lymph nodes, skin changes develop later. The rash usually affects the face, palms and soles of the feet, but skin changes can also occur on other parts of the body such as the genitals. As a rule, sufferers recover from the monkeypox infection within a few weeks, said RKI President Lothar Wieler at a joint press conference with the Minister of Health last week. However, some people could become seriously ill.
Vaccination against monkeypox
For this reason alone, efforts are being made to contain the monkeypox outbreak. The government has also ordered smallpox vaccine as a precaution. The first 40,000 doses are therefore expected in the first two weeks of June, with another 200,000 later. According to Lauterbach, the vaccine could then – if necessary – be used to vaccinate, for example, contact persons of infected people and risk groups. The vaccine “Imvanex” against monkeypox has already been approved in the USA. Virologist Gerd Sutter, who monitors the spread of smallpox viruses for the World Health Organization (WHO), also assumes that widespread vaccination of the population will not be necessary. In an interview with “ZEIT” he said: “Most experts expect that the outbreak will only last a short time and will only affect a few people.”
The reactions to the recommended isolation measures are not well received by everyone. After infectiologist Leif Erik Sander shared the RKI flyer on Twitter, comments were quickly read there that spoke of hysteria post and scaremongering. Sander himself is described in the posts as a lobbyist and as stupid. He shouldn’t pee his pants, after all, according to another Schwurbel comment, it’s a “Karl’s summer slump virus, so that the 50-year-old FFP2 mask wearers who have been vaccinated four times are kept in panic mode”. Comments like these are no longer new to scientists. They have become a worrying matter of course, especially in the course of dealing with another virus: the corona virus.
Source: RKI 1, RKI flyer, ZEIT, Twitter