For members


What’s the latest on monkeypox in Germany?

Germany’s case numbers are trending slightly downward after hitting a peak in July. Is the vaccination campaign having an effect?

An electron microscopic (EM) image shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virus particles
An electron microscopic (EM) image shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virus particles. File photo: Russell Regnery/cdc Cynthia S. Goldsmith/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

Germany has now seen its total number of reported monkeypox cases hit 3,186. Nearly half of that number—or 1,512—have been reported in Berlin. So far this month though, the number of new cases has been trending downward.

According to “Our World in Data,” the country peaked at a 7-day average (or “incidence”) of around 75 newly reported cases a day in mid-July. By early August, that incidence had decreased to about 45 new cases a day, before settling at around 30 new cases per day recently.

That downward slope broadly mirrors the incidence seen in countries like the UK, France, and Spain—Europe’s hardest hit country.

The United States and overall world totals have seen a couple of days of sharp declines recently, but it may be too early to tell whether that’s part of a longer trend.

Graph of 7-day rolling averages of monkeypox cases worldwide and in select countries, including Germany. Image via Our World in Data.

Who’s at risk for monkeypox?

The vast majority of monkeypox cases, both in Germany and worldwide, have been detected in gay and bisexual men. Although scientists think there might be some potential for airborne transmission, monkeypox generally spreads through close physical contact.

That’s why gay and bisexual men with multiple sex partners are considered at particular risk.

Germany’s Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) recommends this group get the smallpox vaccine, which also provides good protection against monkeypox.

Those working in laboratory settings are also considered an at-risk group.

People who may have come into contact with a confirmed monkeypox case are also advised to seek a jab within four days of the potential exposure.

Where is Germany with monkeypox vaccination?

Germany ordered 240,000 doses of the Imvanex vaccine back in June, but received an initial delivery of only 40,000 doses. That’s far less than the projected figure of 130,000 people who fall into a risk group.

Since then, deliveries have been trickling in, but still aren’t meeting demand—with waiting lists of people who want the vaccine getting longer.

Hard-hit Berlin received an initial delivery of 8,000 doses, and is waiting for an additional 65,000 to arrive—although vaccination centres have not yet been told when.

The full order of 240,000 doses is currently set to be filled only by the end of September.

READ ALSO: Who can get the monkeypox vaccine in Germany – and how?


Vaccination – (die) Impfung

Vaccine – (der) Impfstoff

Monkeypox – (die) Affenpocken

to infect – anstecken 

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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For members


Colds and flu: What to do and say if you get sick in Germany

It’s that time of year again when many of us will be coughing and blowing our noses. If you're feeling a bit under the weather, here are the German words you'll need and some tips on what to do.

Colds and flu: What to do and say if you get sick in Germany

Corona – In German, Covid is most commonly called Corona. Self-isolation and quarantine (Quarantänepflicht) rules currently vary from state to state, but if you test positive for Covid, you’ll generally have to isolate for a minimum of five days and a maximum of 10. 

READ ALSO: Germany to bring in new Covid rules ahead of ‘difficult’ winter

Eine Erkältung – this is the German term for a common cold. You can tell people “I have a cold” by saying either saying: ich habe eine Erkältung or ich bin erkältet.

A cold usually involves eine laufende Nase – a runny nose – so make sure you have a good supply of Taschentücher (pocket tissues) at home.

If you have a verstopfte Nase (blocked nose) you can buy a simple nasal spray (Nasenspray) from your local drugstore. 

But in Germany, because only pharmacies are able to sell medicines, you will need to pay a visit to die Apotheke if you want to get anything stronger.

READ ALSO: Why are medicines in Germany only available in pharmacies?

At the pharmacy, the pharmacist will usually need you to describe your symptoms, by asking you: Welche Symptome haben Sie?

A woman with a cold visits a pharmacy.

A woman with a cold visits a pharmacy. Photo: pa/obs/BPI | Shutterstock / Nestor Rizhniak

If it’s a cold you’re suffering from, you may have Halsschmerzen or Halsweh (sore throat), Kopfschmerzen (headache) or Husten (cough).

For a sore throat, you might be given Halstabletten or Halsbonbon (throat lozenges).

If you’re buying cough medicine you will probably be asked if you have a dry, chesty cough – Reizhusten – or if it is a produktiver Husten (wet, productive cough).

If you have one of these you may need some Hustensaft or Hustensirup (cough medicine). If you have a headache, you may also want to pick up a packet of Ibuprofen.

While selecting your Medikamente (medication), the pharmacist might ask you a couple of questions, such as:

Sind Sie mit diesen Medikamenten vertraut?

Are you familiar with this medication?

Haben Sie irgendwelche Unverträglichkeiten?

Do you have any intolerances?

They will also tell you about any Nebenwirkungen (side effects) the medicine could have.

Die Grippe – if you’ve struck down with a more serious illness, it’s likely to be die Grippe – the flu.

Flu symptoms usually include Fieber (fever), Schüttelfrost (chills), Gliederschmerzen (muscle aches), Schmerzen (aches) and Appetitlosigkeit (loss of appetite). While both Erkältungen and Grippe are very ansteckend (contagious), flu is usually more debilitating and might require a visit to the doctor.

However, as the pandemic is still with us, many German doctors’ surgeries (Arztpraxen) still ask patients to stay away or come in during special hours if they have cold or flu symptoms. 

But if you need a sick note (eine AU-Bescheinigung) and are suffering from mild respiratory diseases, you can get this over the phone, until at least November 30th, 2022.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The new rules around getting a sick note over the phone in Germany

If you are really unwell, however, you will need to go to the doctor at some point to get ein Rezept – a prescription. More serious cold and flu-related illnesses (Krankheiten) often involve Entzündungen (inflammations), which are often schmerzhaft (painful) and cause Rötung (redness).

Common inflammations include Nebenhöhlenentzündung (sinusitis), Bronchitis (bronchitis) and Mandelentzündung (tonsillitis).