It’s a matter of time before we have cases of monkeypox in Brazil, says doctor

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For the infectious disease physician at the Hospital das Clínicas da USP, Evaldo Stanislau, it is a “matter of time” before Brazil identifies cases of the so-called monkey pox which began to spread across the Europe .

In an interview with CNN this Sunday (22), he stated that “one of the peculiar aspects of this current crisis is the way in which it has been spreading”.

“The first cases are reported in the UK, very quickly to Portugal and Spain, then other countries in Europe, and it has already arrived in Australia and North America. In a globalized world where you take a plane and 12 hours later you are already in another country, it is very likely, a matter of time, that we will make one or more diagnoses here in Brazil”, he evaluates.

According to the doctor, the smallpox Humanity has been eradicated since the 1980s thanks to vaccination, but the virus that causes smallpox in humans and the one that leads to smallpox in monkeys, which also circulates in other animals and sporadically in humans, are very similar.

“Diseases have clinical similarities and from an immunological and therapeutic point of view, and this is good because it opens the way to have a quick response against this”, he says.

In this sense, Stanislau’s recommendation is to remain calm in case of skin lesions associated with the disease. “There are a number of other diseases that cause skin lesions that we have to think about before thinking about monkeypox.”

“At the opposite extreme, doctors have to be alert because a case that should be reported as a suspect starts with the skin lesion. If you feel fever, malaise, sore throat, some enlarged lymph nodes in some regions and you have seen spots that start red, turn into water balls and that can perforate and be multiple or isolated, this is a case that should be considered as a possibility of smallpox,” he explains.

Regarding the spots, he says that chickenpox usually varies at the same time between blisters, red lesions and crusts. Herpes, on the other hand, are usually accompanied by very great pain. In the case of monkeypox, the lesions are always similar, following the same rhythm as they evolve.

Stanislau advises that “if you have traveled and had contact with someone who came from abroad and has a fever, malaise, ganglion and red lesions or small bumps on the skin, seek medical advice”.

Transmission of the disease involves close contact, when the lesions are apparent, or with objects used by the person, such as bedding. There is also the option of transmission by respiratory secretion, but the use of masks, common during the pandemic of Covid-19 reduces this risk.

“Those who have been vaccinated against smallpox still do not know if they are protected because the duration of smallpox immunity is not known. In other similar outbreak situations, those who had a history of vaccination had much less impact than those who didn’t, so they probably have greater protection, but it’s still a possibility, not sure.” it says.

The infectologist points out that there is already a vaccine against this type of smallpox and an antiviral to fight symptoms. In general, however, they do not have widespread access, and are only made available to combat one-off outbreaks.

“It is a generally benign disease, with mild and transient cutaneous and general manifestations. In order to block and prevent spread, because this strain may have a faster transmission capacity, it needs to detect cases and offer them vaccination, and in patients with some type of risk, such as children, pregnant women, eventually they can use the antiviral. It is a strategic use, and the one who sets the agenda at a global level is the WHO “, it says.

He also reckons that monkeypox has always been a “neglected, underappreciated” disease because it focuses on Africa in countries that often lack access to vaccines and antivirals to combat outbreaks.

“Now that it is reaching countries with more visibility, the international community is very attentive to this problem. We are probably having some common source that started this outbreak, someone who must have come from Africa, but then it gets the unusual component, it starts to spread very quickly, and this spread is not usual”.

Source: CNN Brasil

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