Experts Warn Monkey Smallpox Control Is Increasingly Difficult

Experts Warn Monkey Smallpox Control Is Increasingly Difficult

Doctors are demanding more vigorous action from the Ministry of Health to combat monkeypox, which is growing rapidly in the country. (Photo: Reproduction)

In the last week, Brazil surpassed the mark of 4,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox (monkeypox), an accumulation of 160 new cases in just 24 hours, according to the Ministry of Health. With the advance of the disease, the actions of the federal government have received more and more criticism from specialists in public health for the timidity of the measures adopted so far, such as the information campaign launched this week on radio and TV.

Alexandre Naime, vice president of the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases (SBI), claims that, despite recent announcements, the federal government is late in combating the infection, and adopts a reactive stance. For him, the first steps should have been taken at least two months ago, together with the issuing of a decree on an emergency in health.

“(Declaration of emergency) would be the most appropriate solution and, even so, long overdue. Once again, the ministry postpones decisions that should be advanced, as they have a direct impact on the spread and control of the disease. The emergency would make it easier for the country to allocate resources for the prevention and clarification campaign, make it easier to buy supplies for diagnoses and make it easier to negotiate vaccines”, exemplified Naime.

“What must be done is to promote health education for the disease, increase clinical suspension, increase diagnosis, isolate patients and block transmission”, he pointed out.

Epicenter

The São Paulo government’s Health Department — the epicenter of the disease, with more than 2,500 cases — has adopted sanitary measures to prevent and control monkeypox in the state. These are guidelines for the identification and isolation of those infected, and contact tracing in service establishments, such as restaurants, supermarkets, beauty salons, gyms, hotels and motels.

“We are working on detailing the guidelines, but the guidance is that parents or guardians do not send their children to school if the child has any suspected sign or symptom of monkeypox, such as skin lesions associated or not with sore throats, fever, tiredness. and headaches, muscle or back pain. In these cases, the recommendation is to immediately seek the nearest Basic Health Unit (UBS) for evaluation”, warned Melissa Palmieri, Epidemiological Surveillance doctor of the Health Surveillance Coordination (Covisa).

The São Paulo government monitors the progress of monkeypox through its own crisis management committee, without the participation of the federal government. Alexandre Naime suggests that, as this is not the practice in the rest of the country, there is underreporting of the disease and an increased risk of lack of control in relation to the chain of contamination.

“It becomes increasingly easier to transmit as the disease becomes internalized. A third of the cases are already in the countryside, and control is becoming increasingly difficult because, if containment is already difficult in cities with greater resources, imagine in places with more difficulties. The government has been slowly stitching together isolated solutions to respond,” warned the infectious disease specialist.

The Ministry of Health reported that it maintains dialogue with the National Council of Health Secretaries (Conass), the National Council of Municipal Health Secretaries (Conasems) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), linked to the World Health Organization.