MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, July 4th 2022 - 06:36 UTC



Uruguay, Peru take preventive action against monkeypox

Monday, May 23rd 2022 - 09:20 UTC
Full article
As it is a well-known disease, health centers in many countries have long had protocols in place As it is a well-known disease, health centers in many countries have long had protocols in place

Uruguayan health authorities announced during the weekend they were monitoring the possible local appearance of suspected cases of monkeypox, based on “the symptomatology and travel history” of individuals.

The Public Health Ministry (MSP) said in a statement that the Department of Health Surveillance was following suspected cases according to the symptoms and travel history of patients. The officials also said they were permanently in touch with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) “through the National Liaison Center” to be up-to-date with the worldwide evolution of monkeypox, a zoonotic viral disease detected in Canada, Spain, United States, Great Britain, Italy, Portugal, and Sweden.

According to the MSP statement, monkeypox is caused by a “virus belonging to the genus Orthopoxivirus, Family Poxviridae” and “it is transmitted to humans by various wild animals, in initial cases infection occurs by direct contact with blood, meat, skin lesions or mucous membranes of infected animals. Person-to-person transmission can occur by close contact with respiratory tract secretions or skin lesions; cases of sexual transmission have been reported,” the MSP also pointed out.

“They are two viruses of a very close virus family the most important difference, it can be said that human smallpox is a virus whose host and only host has been the human being,” virologist Mabel Berois told Subrayado, while monkeypox “can also infect other animals, including us.”

“That is the big difference, so it is a virus that can and continues to circulate in nature,” Berois explained. “The severity of monkeypox is much more benevolent than that of human smallpox,” she also pointed out.

The mortality rate can be as high as 10% but the disease itself follows the same patterns, such as fever and pain; then the rash appears. “Outbreaks and cases of monkeypox have always appeared in Central Africa. The first time it crossed, left the continent I think it is the case of 2003 in the United States.”

Meanwhile, Peru's Health Minister Jorge López announced that a sanitary alert was to be declared in view of the increase of cases recorded abroad, although so far no case has been detected in Peru. Under the alert, the country's health system is to get ready for a possible report of contagion. ”If a case is detected in our country, it is important for the health system to be prepared. We still do not have any case(...) people who were vaccinated for smallpox have a protection of almost 85%,” César Munayco, executive director of Public Health Surveillance of the National Center for Epidemiology, Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), explained Canal N.

Munayco also warned that this disease can show up as malaise, headache, fever and, after five days, lesions appear on different parts of the body (face, trunk and limbs). “We are observing that several countries have reported cases, that is why the alert has been issued,” he added.

Asked if any restriction would be applied to people entering Peru from countries with the presence of this disease, Munayco said no because “the incubation period of this disease is long.”

The first human cases of monkeypox were identified in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970 and the number has been increasing over the last decade in West and Central African countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced cases of monkeypox have been detected since the beginning of May in the United Kingdom, especially among the homosexual community. Since May 6, seven cases of monkeypox have been detected in the country, including four in people who identify as “gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men,” according to the UKHSA.

“We are seeing transmissions among men who have sex with men,” which is “new information that we need to study properly to better understand the dynamics” of transmission, said Ibrahima Socé Fall, WHO assistant director-general for emergency interventions.

The UKHSA, for its part, recommends ”particularly those who are gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men (MSM) to be alert to any unusual rash or lesions.“

The current number of monkeypox cases is already the largest outbreak of the disease reported outside Africa since records began. Belgium was the first country to decree mandatory social isolation due to the disease. Health authorities in Europe to Canada, the United States and Australia, have begun to detect cases of monkeypox, whose previous outbreaks had been largely contained.

Last Friday, the WHO issued an ”epidemiological alert“ for ”monkeypox in non-endemic countries.” According to this latest report, as of May 20, 2022, 11 countries have reported cases: Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States and Belgium.

In recent years, cases outside Africa had only been detected in the USA, Israel, the UK and Singapore (although this does not imply that it has not occurred in other countries, where epidemiological detection systems are less developed).

Various epidemiological surveillance agencies and experts, however, have clarified that, although the current cases and their forms of contagion are still being studied, monkeypox does not constitute a threat to the health of the general public. The rash changes and goes through different stages and may resemble chickenpox or syphilis, before finally forming a scab, which then falls off.

As it is a well-known disease, health centers in many countries have long had protocols in place that suggest how to avoid contagion, detect symptoms and offer treatment. Health authorities have been on alert to quickly identify any potential cases of monkeypox in order to provide treatment, trace contacts and prevent the spread of the virus. Many health agencies have recommended their populations to be attentive to symptoms and seek medical help if there is suspicion of being infected, especially people who have been traveling in the last three weeks (the incubation period of the disease).

The main signs appear 1 to 5 days after the fever: a rash then develops first in the face and then spreads to other parts of the body. A rash in the genital area has also been reported. Watching for symptoms is key because monkeypox, unlike covid, is not transmitted before people develop symptoms.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has insisted hygiene measures were critical in the face of this virus. “Practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or humans. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer,” the CDC advises.

Tags: Monkeypox, Peru.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!