Although not a new disease – the first case in humans was recorded in the 1970s – monkeypox has progressed around the world, putting health authorities on alert. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of cases of the disease already exceeds 73,000 worldwide. In Brazil, the Ministry of Health registers more than nine thousand people infected.
“Over time, transmission of the disease has only occurred endemically in parts of Africa. Currently, the epidemic is different, reaching countries with no history of cases and with rapid progress”, explains infectiologist Rebecca Saad, coordinator of the SCIH (Hospital Infection Control Service) at CEJAM – Center for Studies and Research “Dr. .Joao Amorim”.
virus transmitted monkey poxthe disease has an average incubation period of 10 days and can reach 21 days, causing fever, body aches, headaches, enlarged lymph nodes and skin lesions.
Cecille Gribell, clinical physician at the CER Ilha unit at the Evandro Freire municipal hospital, run by CEJAM in Rio de Janeiro, explains that if the lesions do not heal, the disease can be transmitted between people, but it is There are also ongoing ongoing studies investigating possible transmission by asymptomatic carriers.
Therefore, to prevent the current epidemic from progressing further in the country, it is essential to invest in information and prevention methods. The specialist recalls that transmission is mainly through contact with skin lesions, respiratory secretions and the sharing of contaminated objects.
Thus, it is important not to have contact, such as hugging or kissing people who are showing acute viral symptoms, especially when they have these lesions. Also, you should avoid sharing towels, clothes, cutlery and personal items.
“These are basic care that must be integrated into our daily life, because they prevent the transmission of any viral disease, helping us to fight epidemics like the one we are currently experiencing,” he emphasizes.
The infectologist emphasizes that, although currently the predominant mode of transmission identified by specialists is through sex, monkeypox cannot be qualified as an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection), transmission through sexual fluids not having been proven. “The virus monkey pox is transmitted by any form of close contact, this includes sexual intercourse, but not only.
Hospital doctor Evandro Freire still guides the use of a mask to avoid contact with droplets and saliva, as well as frequent hand hygiene, habits spread during the Covid-19 pandemic and which have also significant efficacy in controlling the transmission of monkeypox virus.
Specialists point out that in suspected and positive cases of the disease, isolation should be carried out, avoiding contact with other people and sharing objects, a measure that helps reduce the spread of the virus.
“The disease has a low case fatality rate, around 1%, mainly affecting immunocompromised patients and the elderly. However, when the disease leads to secondary infections, a medical evaluation and follow-up with a specialist, including the use of antibiotics, are necessary”, reiterates Dr. Cécile.
In the absence of a specific vaccine, researchers have identified three smallpox vaccines that may also work in the fight against monkeypox. According to the Ministry of Health, the negotiations for the acquisition of the vaccine monkey pox are in progress with the WHO.
“To prevent the scenario from getting worse, we are once again living in a moment in the world when it becomes decisive to invest in awareness-raising actions on the disease and its means of prevention”, concludes the infectiologist.