“It was all very fast”, says doctor and mother of child with new smallpox |  Online Tribune

“It was all very fast”, says doctor and mother of child with new smallpox | Online Tribune

| Photo: Personal Archive

Making an alert about monkeypox, the new smallpox, doctor Thays Rangel, 29, spoke about her son, student Bernardo Araújo Pinto Rangel, 8, who was diagnosed with the virus and is in isolation.

The first symptoms were body aches, but initially he and his family came to believe it was due to excessive weekend play.

The alert came on when the child complained of very itchy legs. The skin lesions impressed not only the mother, but all the professionals she referred the child to, and they did not suspect the disease. It was the mother herself who suspected the diagnosis.

A Tribuna – How did the suspicion come about that it could be a smallpox infection?

Thays Rangel – I noticed that the injuries progressed very quickly. That’s when I got the warning that it could be monkeypox, known as “monkey pox”. The doctors also asked me how I saw the monkeypox virus in the lesion.

I replied that it was not because of the type of injury, but because of the rapid evolution of the injuries. Overnight I had twice as many injuries, and that would be something different, and because the monkeypox virus is something new, we don’t know much about it yet.

Before discovering the monkeypox virus, was he diagnosed with other illnesses?

The lesions looked like insect bites. The pediatrician said it could be impetigo (a highly contagious skin infection), the dermatologist said it was bites, and the clinician believed it was scabies (an also contagious skin infection). But injuries are really confusing. I even asked if he saw or felt an animal bite him, if he had sat on an anthill, but he said no.

Did you notify the epidemiological surveillance?

That. And it was all very fast. There was the collection of exams and has already gone into isolation. The result came out on the 13th day of isolation, last Monday. He was positive in the three tests, the blood test, the naso-oropharyngeal swab and the crust, which is the collection by scraping the wound he has on the skin.

Were his symptoms just the leg injuries?

First there was the pain in the body and then the lesions on the skin. Today (yesterday) he woke up with sore throat, body ache and oral injuries. He went through a pediatric infectious disease specialist in Vitória, who advised to keep the isolation until completing the 21 days.

Did he need to be medicated?

Only with symptomatic medication, which was the remedy for pain in the body. This Wednesday he started with the antiallergic, because the itching in the legs is causing wounds, when removing the cones.

The infectious disease specialist preferred to apply the antiallergic to prevent the itching and the wounds from healing. Isolation is for 21 days, or when all scabs fall off. If he keeps itching, the wounds won’t heal.

Isn’t there by now a suspicion of how he might have been infected?

The lesions appeared after we returned from a weekend in the countryside, but before that we traveled to my city on Father’s Day, in Itaperuna (RJ).

Bernardo missed class because of the trip, but went to school on Tuesday, the day before the virus was suspected. So we have no idea how he got infected.

Did he let people know he had contact?

I communicated it to the school, to the mothers in his room, and as a doctor I have a responsibility for public health. We can never afford to hide cases like these. Even if it can generate concern, we can’t help but talk. It’s just to be worried. Covid killed thousands of people, and in the beginning it was something common for many people.

I was criticized for speaking up and warning, but I preferred to follow my heart and explain what is happening. If we had faced it as a simple disease, it would be infecting other people as it circulated.

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