Image copyright EPA Image caption The Cervarix vaccine protects against seven types of cancer
Germany’s health minister has urged the country’s adults to get vaccinated against cervical cancer.
Sigmar Gabriel has warned that the number of women diagnosed with the disease could triple in five years.
Three men have contracted and transmitted the human papillomavirus (HPV) to a woman.
Men are considered more at risk of the virus, which can cause cervical cancer.
Doctors say they can link the spread of HPV to women with low HPV vaccination rates, and who have unvaccinated men in their lives.
The Ministry of Health has said the ministry’s goal is to vaccinate 70% of women at least three times with HPV-causing varieties of the virus, up from the current rate of 61%.
Figures in a report released last week by the National Institute for Risk Assessment (NAR) found a 38% increase in the number of women aged 20 to 44 diagnosed with cervical cancer between 2011 and 2015.
In the first nine months of 2018, 183 cases of HPV-related cancer were diagnosed, representing an increase of 22% compared to the same period in 2017.
Bavaria, a country where women are often more likely to be immunised, saw a 36% increase in the incidence of HPV-linked cancer between 2010 and 2017.
Data from Health Ministry registries show the number of women treated for HPV-related cervical cancer in Germany has risen from 30 per 100,000 in 2011 to 37 per 100,000 in 2017.
“This is a serious and growing threat for the future – indeed, perhaps three times more serious,” Sigmar Gabriel said on the government’s website.
In 2016, Germany’s Health Ministry launched a national campaign against cervical cancer. About 66% of women in Germany are registered with a healthcare scheme that offers HPV vaccinations.
In December 2018, Denmark reported the first case of human papillomavirus-related cervical cancer.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Number of men infected with the HPV virus that can cause cervical cancer has tripled
Researchers identified a 51-year-old man with the virus after examining tissue from his mouth and the cervix.
The virus had caused a rare and previously unheard of cervical cancer.
It was found in the tissue of the right side of the woman’s cervix in a four-year-old baby who had been cured of the virus by circumcision.
In the study, published in the journal BMJ Case Reports, researchers said the baby’s circumcision had caused “contamination with the virus in the tissues of the cervix” and that the contamination was passed on to the teenager.
In Europe, Poland and Slovakia have the highest rates of genital infection, scientists from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) found in a study of about half a million records from Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain and Britain.
The study found that rates of infection are highest among women aged 15 to 24 and that the risk of getting HPV infection is one in 25 among teenagers.
With every incidence of infection, half a million potential new HPV infections could occur, according to the study.
As of 2017, Germany had no fatal HPV-related cancers, but that number is expected to increase in the coming years, according to the Ministry of Health.
The nation’s health minister has urged all Germans over the age of 18 to get the HPV vaccine.