Brazil confirmed this Wednesday (24) the first case of human-to-animal transmission of smallpox from monkeys. A five-month-old dog had contact with a patient diagnosed with the disease in the municipality of Juiz de Fora, in Minas Gerais. The animal started to show symptoms on the 13th, with itching, presenting characteristic lesions of the disease such as wounds and formation of crusts located on the back and neck.
To date, documented cases of transmission of the disease from humans to animals are rare. In addition to Brazil, there are reports in the United States and France.
The findings of the case identified in Paris were described in the scientific journal “Lancet”. The analysis of the cases by the scientific community is ongoing. Knowing the main symptoms of infection in animals and what care should be taken can help prevent contagion.
Faced with any suspicion, people should seek medical attention at Basic Health Units (UBSs) or Emergency Care Unit (UPA) for evaluation. The Ministry of Health recommends that the test is done in all patients with signs of the disease and that isolation should begin even before the results of the exams.
Patients in good health, who are not part of the population at risk, such as pregnant women, children and immunosuppressed patients, should undergo treatment at home to relieve symptoms. The patient must remain isolated, preferably in a home environment.
Skin lesions should be covered as much as possible, with the use of long-sleeved shirts and pants, also to minimize the risk of contact with other people. Clothes should be changed if they become damp and sanitized separately.
Veterinary doctor Josélio Moura, president of the Brazilian Academy of Veterinary Medicine, says that infected animals have shown symptoms of the disease similar to clinical pictures in humans. The most common signs are itching and skin lesions in the form of blisters that may contain pus, also called “pustules”.
“There are the same types of human lesions, pustules with bloody or purulent characteristics, but these are extremely rare cases. The dog’s first reaction when it has an injury is to lick or scratch itself, this has to be treated quickly so that it does not put the virus in the environment”, explains Moura.
The specialist recommends that, in the face of symptoms in animals, especially if the disease has been diagnosed in the tutor, owners should seek veterinary care for evaluation.
“The first action is to isolate the animal to reduce the risks of contamination of other animals and family members, because the disease is not well known, in addition to topically caring for the lesion, following the recommendation of a clinical veterinarian who can advise on the best treatment based on observation of the lesions”, he says.
How to prevent transmission to pets
Patients diagnosed with monkeypox should follow the recommendations of health professionals and adopt sanitary measures that include isolating the animal and other people who live in the same house.
“The first thing to do with great care is to snuggle up and not hug the animals, avoid touching the lesion and then the animals, which is common to give the animal a affection. People first have to take care of their injuries and the virus that may be circulating in the body”, says Moura.
According to the veterinarian, prevention includes care in the routine of feeding and cleaning the place, such as the use of gloves and mask, long-sleeved blouse and pants to protect the skin, as well as disinfection of the area with bleach.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends other ways to prevent the spread of animals and other people, which include:
- Stay in a separate room
- Use a separate bathroom or, in case of sharing, that there is careful cleaning
- Clean frequently touched surfaces with soap and water and a disinfectant
- Avoid sweeping or vacuuming the area
- Use separate utensils, towels, bedding and electronics
- Do your own laundry separately
- Open windows for good ventilation
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol gel
The WHO advises that if it is not possible to avoid staying in the same environment as other people and animals, you should try to do everything possible to limit the risk, such as avoiding physical contact, washing your hands frequently, covering the skin lesions with clothes. or bandages, open all windows in the house, wear tight fitting masks and keep at least one meter away.
Source: CNN Brasil