Monkey pox (monkey pox)

Monkey pox (monkey pox)

Dr. Jorge Sidnei Rodrigues da Costa – Cremesp 34708 *

Monkeypox is a disease currently treated as a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO). Below, in five points, see a summary of what the disease is, the symptoms, forms of transmission, prevention, treatments and vaccine.

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1 – What is it?

It is a viral zoonosis: a disease that was transmitted to humans from and a virus that circulates between animals. Before the current outbreak, it occurred mainly in Central and West Africa, especially in regions close to forests, as the hosts are rodents and monkeys.

It is caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the same family (poxvirus) and genus (orthopoxvirus) as human smallpox. Smallpox, however, was eradicated from the world in 1980, and it was far more lethal. The historical case fatality rate of monkeypox, before the current outbreak, was considered to be in the range of 3% to 6%.

The first case was detected in humans in 1970. Complications are more common in patients with immune system problems. Severe conditions are related to the emergence of pneumonia, sepsis, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and eye infection, which can even lead to blindness.

2 – Classic symptoms

The most classic symptoms associated with monkeypox are: fever, headache and body aches, backache, chills, tiredness, skin sores (skin rashes) and swollen glands (which commonly precede the characteristic rash of the disease).

Skin rashes go through different stages. They start out red and without volume; later, they gain volume and bubbles, before forming the shells. These sores are different from those seen in chickenpox, scabies, syphilis, herpes, and other illnesses.

“We have seen manifestations of monkeypox that are mild and sometimes limited to only a few areas of the body, which differs from the classic manifestation seen in endemic West Central African countries,” he said.

According to the director of the CDC, current cases do not always have symptoms associated with the flu. “It’s important to note that smallpox cases can have similarities to some sexually transmitted infections,” such as herpes, “and can be confused with other diagnoses,” she said.

3 – Transmission

Monkeypox is transmitted, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), through: close contact with skin lesions, by respiratory secretions or objects used by a person who is infected.

Unlike Covid, in which there is airborne transmission through small suspended droplets, the current understanding regarding monkeypox is that the disease-causing virus spreads through close contact with an infected person, who can pass the virus through the lesions. characteristics on the skin or by large, scattered droplets expelled by the respiratory system, such as those present in sneezing.

4 – Prevention

The use of masks, distancing and hand hygiene are ways to avoid contagion by monkeypox. The National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) reinforced the adoption of these measures, stressing that they also serve to protect against Covid-19.

Considering that initial data showed that the largest number of reported cases was concentrated in the group of men who have sex with men, the WHO director advised that this public should consider reducing, at this time, the number of sexual partners to reduce the exposure risk. There is no confirmation of transmission via sexual fluids such as semen.

“It is not considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI) until this moment because this transmission by sexual fluid has not been proven, according to the epidemiology sector of the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the State University of Campinas (Unicamp).

On the other hand, the WHO itself has admitted that prolonged intimacy during sex appears to be the main condition that facilitates the transmission of smallpox from monkeys during sex. According to the WHO’s technical lead for the disease, Rosamund Lewis, it is essential that the population understands that everyone can eventually contract the disease.

“While health agencies are sharing that one group is the most affected at this time, it is very important that we all understand that any one of us is at risk. We need information on how this group can protect itself, but at the same time, anyone is exposed.”

5 – Treatment

The disease usually resolves on its own (it is self-limiting) and symptoms usually last two to four weeks. There are no specific treatments for monkeypox virus infections, according to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

However, the monkeypox virus and the smallpox virus are genetically similar, which means that drugs and vaccines to protect yourself from smallpox can also be used to prevent and treat monkeypox.

6 – Vaccine

The disease does not yet have a specific vaccine, but three human smallpox vaccines can be used against monkeypox. Initial data indicate that the immunizer produced by Bavarian Nordic has an effectiveness of 85% against monkeypox.

There is still no vaccine available in Brazil: the Ministry of Health reported that it “articulates with the WHO the negotiations for the acquisition of the Monkeypox vaccine”. The folder also said that the WHO “coordinates with the manufacturer, globally, to expand access to the immunizer in countries with confirmed cases of the disease”.

Sources: Butantan Institute; United Nations (UN) – Brazil ONU News Office.

* Title of specialist in pediatrics by the Brazilian Medical Association (AMB) and Brazilian Society of Pediatrics; cynical director of the Tatuí Vaccination Clinic – I am Doctor Cevac “Dr. Jorge Sidney”.

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