Pan American Health Organization Director Carissa Etienne Wednesday said the monkeypox scenario in the region was worrisome, albeit moderate, and that vaccines were nearly non-available worldwide.
Etienne also said that the countries in the region with the most cases of monkeypox were the United States, Brazil, and Peru. Contagions in the continent account for 14% of the total cases worldwide.
Etienne said 1,325 cases of monkeypox have been reported in the region so far and that there were predominantly men who have sex with men. Despite the short supply, Etienne recommended that countries vaccinate close contacts of smallpox.
Meanwhile, Argentine health authorities confirmed three new detections nationwide, thus upping the total number of cases to 12, with 2 two new infections in Córdoba and one in the city of Buenos Aires.
Argentine Health Ministry sources told Clarín that a risk-benefit evaluation was being carried out regarding the local use of vaccines against this malady. Availability of vaccines for this disease is small and is used for very specific indications, such as personnel working in laboratories in contact with the virus or traveling to places where there are outbreaks such as parts of Africa, Clarín's sources explained.
The [new] cases are two residents of Córdoba, aged 29 and 34, and a resident of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, aged 43. The jurisdictions have initiated isolation and contact tracing actions, and there have been no secondary cases to date, they added.
One of the positive cases in Córdoba was confirmed through PCR testing at the Malbrán Institute, while the second one was established from epidemiological linking standards. The Epidemiology Department of the province detailed that the men returned from Europe on July 1 and started showing symptoms between July 3 and 5. One presented fever, headache, myalgia, asthenia, pustules, and crusts on the skin, while the second showed very mild symptoms.
On July 7, they consulted at Rawson Hospital, where the infection was suspected and the corresponding samples were taken for diagnosis. The samples were sent to the Central Laboratory of the Province and from there to the INEI-ANLIS reference laboratory, where the result was confirmed on July 12, the Health Ministry explained.
The cases have no risk contacts in the country, and that they are progressing favorably, in isolation and under home control.
The case in Buenos Aires is a 43-year-old man who returned from Europe on July 3 and was treated on July 7 for symptoms compatible with monkeypox. Since it was not possible so far to take a laboratory sample for the specific study, he is considered a confirmed case by clinical and epidemiological criteria, Clarín's sources reported.
Of the 12 cases confirmed in Argentina, 5 were from the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, 3 from the province of Buenos Aires, 3 from Córdoba, and 1 from Mendoza. Eleven of the twelve cases had a travel history.