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Germany to release monkeypox guidance, mulls vaccine options

Germany to release monkeypox guidance, mulls vaccine options

Roman Woelfel, head of the Institute of Microbiology of the German Armed Forces works in his laboratory in Munich on May 20, 2022, after Germany detected its first case of monkeypox. (Photo: Reuters/Christine Uyanik)

GENEVA: Germany's health minister on Monday (May 23) expressed concern about monkeypox outbreaks and said the country was due to release quarantine guidelines on Tuesday after reporting three cases.

Nearly 20 countries where monkeypox is not endemic have reported outbreaks of the viral disease, with more than 100 confirmed or suspected infections, mostly in Europe.

"In the next few hours we will work out recommendations together with the Robert Koch Institute regarding isolation recommendations and quarantine recommendations," German health minister Karl Lauterbach told journalists on the sidelines of the World Health Organization's annual assembly in Geneva. "We'll be able to present them tomorrow," he said.

Many - but not all - of the people who have been diagnosed in the current monkeypox outbreak are men who have sex with men.

Lauterbach said that men who have sex with unknown partners were currently a risk group and should be warned about monkeypox "without any stigmatisation".

He said the pattern of the outbreak was worrying, saying it appeared that the way the virus spreads had changed, and urged quick action to contain a global outbreak.

A senior World Health Organization official said earlier that the agency did not have evidence the virus has mutated.

Germany's government is assessing options for vaccinations and Lauterbach said he had recently spoken personally with a monkeypox vaccination manufacturer, without giving details.

"Vaccination of the general population is not being discussed here, we are only considering whether we might have to make vaccination recommendations for people who are particularly at risk," he said.

Source: Reuters/vc

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