Monkeypox: Ministry of Health launches National Contingency Plan for monkeypox

Monkeypox: Ministry of Health launches National Contingency Plan for monkeypox

Document gathers strategic information for the containment and control of monkeypox, in addition to guiding the actions to be defined by Brazilian states and municipalities

Per: Paloma Custodio/Brazil 61

The Ministry of Health launched the National Contingency Plan for Monkeypox, the monkeypox. The document gathers strategic information for the containment and control of the disease, which has already infected 2,293 people in Brazil until this Wednesday (10), according to the ministry. The material contains assistance, epidemiological and laboratory guidelines for the management of monkeypox cases, in addition to guiding the actions to be defined by Brazilian states and municipalities.

Infectologist Julival Ribeiro, a member of the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases (SBI), believes that it is essential that the government direct all actions to control smallpox.

“This plan is very important, because it establishes a chain of command of all actions by the federal, state, district and municipal governments, aiming to have coordinated actions in the clinical laboratory diagnosis, in the prevention and, above all, in the control of the monkeypox disease.”

The document also presents the definitions of suspected, probable, confirmed and discarded cases of monkeypox, in addition to the mode of transmission and the vulnerable groups. Dr. Natalia Pasternak, a biologist and researcher at Columbia University, highlights the importance of sharing this information.

“The most important thing for apepox is that people are informed about how contact is made, what the highest probability of contagion is, what to do if I am infected. All this has to be very clear. Remembering that anyone can catch this disease.”

Emergency Level

According to the internationally used classification, the plan has three emergency levels based on the assessment of the risk of the disease, the epidemiological situation and the impact on public health and the services of the Unified Health System (SUS).

Currently, Brazil is at level III, which is established when there is community transmission of cases, supplies for treatment and prevention are not available and the impact on the SUS requires a broad government response.

“This level three, which raises the emergency level for monkeypox disease, is very important to seek more resources and distribute more kits for the diagnosis of the disease made by public or private laboratories. In addition to applying preventive measures to control the disease”, emphasizes infectious disease specialist Julival Ribeiro.

Level I is used to classify sites that do not have all the necessary resources, require technical guidance and resource mobilization, with the possibility of sending a team. Level II, on the other hand, is for locations with significant risk, exceeding the local response capacity, requiring additional resources and complementary support from the federal sphere, with the dispatch of a response team to the Public Health Emergency.

Simian smallpox vaccines

In a note, the Ministry of Health informs that “the control of monkeypox is a priority for the Ministry, which is constantly monitoring the epidemiological situation to guide surveillance actions and response to the disease in Brazil. The folder awaits negotiations by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) with the manufacturer for the purchase of medicine and also the vaccine against monkeypox”.

According to Dr. Natalia Pasternak, the vaccine against smallpox should protect against the simian, but the scientific community still has few data on the extent of this protection.

“The smallpox vaccine offers what we call cross-protection. As they are similar viruses, it should protect against smallpox. But we can’t say exactly how much it protects, because this has never been effectively tested on large numbers of people. But we believe, from some smaller experiments that have been done in the past with healthcare professionals and because of the antibodies produced with the smallpox vaccine, that it offers cross-protection.”

Symptoms, contagion and prevention

Monkeypox, or monkeypox, is a viral disease caused by a virus similar to human smallpox. The best known symptom is the appearance of pustules or lesions on the body, but the patient can also experience high fever, body and head pain, nausea, tiredness and the appearance of ganglia, or tongues, which can affect the neck region, axilla and perigenital.

Contagion occurs through contact, whether through the skin, secretions or personal objects of the infected patient.

“It is a contagious disease that passes from person to person through prolonged intimate contact. So, skin contact: if you hug, kiss, have sexual contact, any kind of intimate and prolonged, long contact – it’s not a quick thing – you can catch ape smallpox”, explains Dr. Pasternak.

The main form of prevention is to avoid direct contact with contaminated people or with personal objects of these patients.

The Ministry of Health advises to seek a health unit in case of symptoms of the disease.

Cover photo: Marcello Casal Jr/Agência Brasil

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