Mr. Aengenheister, you were one of the first to be diagnosed with monkeypox in Germany.

Have you heard of this disease before?

Peter Philipp Schmitt

Editor in the department "Germany and the World".

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I first heard about monkeypox two or three weeks before I contracted it.

Before that I didn't even know there was such a thing.

At the beginning of May, the first smaller outbreaks were also reported in Europe, which is rather untypical here.

Most cases are in Africa.

So you knew what it was right away when the first symptoms appeared?

I had been to Maspalomas on vacation.

That was some kind of hotspot with a bigger outbreak, as I read after my vacation.

The "Maspalomas Pride" took place on Gran Canaria at the beginning of May, a festival primarily for gays, which developed into the first major source of infection.


That is why it was also said that anyone who had been there should pay particular attention to symptoms.

An acquaintance of mine, whom I met by chance in Spain and with whom I was in close contact there, tested positive after his vacation.

Luckily he let me know openly and honestly that he had monkeypox and what the symptoms were.

What were the symptoms?

It was a bit different for him than for me: He first had smallpox and a little later swelling and fever, from one day to the next in the morning I suddenly had the full program with fever, swollen lymph nodes, headaches and body aches, sweating and more a pox.

Three more followed shortly after.

My friend had 14 of them.

Where did you get smallpox?

One in the genital area just above the testicles, one on the right upper arm, where the shoulder joint begins, then another on the scalp, but you couldn't see it because there was hair over it.

I didn't feel them until I was washing my hair in the shower.

And I had one on my bottom right on the sphincter, which was pretty uncomfortable.

What does smallpox look like?

At first like pimples, you can hardly tell them apart from a normal pimple.

After a day or two, a white circle forms on top, from which a secretion, such as a wound secretion, runs out.

Are smallpox painful?

Only the smallpox on the bottom hurt, I hardly noticed the others.

But it was bearable, it wasn't that bad.

How did your family react to the infection?

I wanted to go on a trip with my family on that day, it was May 26th, which is Ascension Day.

Then when I was suddenly sick in the morning, I called my parents and told them that I probably had monkeypox.

So my mum said: I'm going to send dad straight to you and then you can have it tested.

You took him to the hospital?


It was a public holiday, and since I know that laboratories can't test everything, I said we'd go straight to the emergency room at Cologne University Hospital, where they also specialize in exotic diseases.

Four weeks ago, none of the doctors had the necessary test capacities.

I now know that at least the specialist doctors here in the Cologne area can also test for monkeypox and send it to laboratories.

Were the doctors at the university clinic able to assess the disease correctly right away?

I immediately told them I was sure I had monkeypox and would like to get tested.

They were totally nice.

The doctor on call took me straight away and put on a full-body protective suit before examining me.

Then she called another colleague, a dermatologist, because, as she said, she doesn't know anything about monkeypox.

It came after five minutes.

How did the investigation go?

The dermatologist punctured a smallpox with a needle and the liquid spilled out.

It was then dabbed off with a cotton swab and sent to the laboratory for a PCR test, as is also known from Corona.

In addition, on the recommendation of the doctor, blood was drawn from me to measure my inflammation levels and also to test me for HIV, hepatitis and syphilis so that nothing was overlooked.