Germany on Friday confirmed its first case of monkeypox, making it the latest European country where the disease has spread.
The case was registered in Bavaria on Thursday, according to the Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology in Munich. The patient exhibited symptoms of skin lesions, a major characteristic of the disease.
What is monkeypox?
The monkeypox virus originated in Africa, where it was first identified in monkeys. The first human case was confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The virus is composed of two main strains. One is the Congo strain, which results in more severe disease and has up to a 10% mortality rate. The other is the West African strain, which has a much lower fatality rate of 1%.
Monkeypox symptoms tend to be milder than those of smallpox. It includes fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion, but monkeypox also causes causes lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy) while smallpox does not, according to the CDC
The virus can be transmitted from person to person through air droplets, close bodily contact or sharing contaminated linens or objects.
Outbreak in Europe and North America
The first case of monkeypox in Europe was confirmed on May 7. The infected person was an individual who returned to England from Nigeria, where monkeypox is endemic.
The disease was then confirmed in Portugal, with 14 cases, all young males. Spain has reported seven confirmed cases, while one case has since been reported in Sweden and Italy, respectively.
jcg, wd/rt (Reuters, dpa, AP)