The government of the Federal District announced this Tuesday (21/6) that it is investigating a suspected case of monkeypox. The patient is a young man, between 20 and 29 years old, who is being followed up by the local health department. Endemic in part of the African continent, the disease is already present in at least 40 countries and has more than 2,000 confirmed diagnoses. In Brazil, the Ministry of Health has identified eight cases so far.
Despite not being recognized as a lethal condition – there are no records of any deaths from the disease in the current outbreak – the World Health Organization (WHO) is due to meet on Friday (24/6) to define whether smallpox is classified monkeys as a global public health emergency, on the same level as Covid-19.
The incubation period for the virus that causes the disease varies from seven to 21 days. Symptoms usually appear 10 or 14 days after the moment of infection. The first signs are fever, malaise and pain. About three days later, patients start to have blisters all over their body – similar to chickenpox. The illness ends in a period of between three and four weeks.
3 Cards_Gallery_of_Photos (6)
Recently, several countries have registered cases of patients diagnosed with monkeypox, a rare disease caused by the simian smallpox virus. According to the WHO, the condition is not considered serious: the mortality rate is 1 case in 100. However, it is the first time that it has become identified on a large scale outside the African continent.Getty Images
The disease was first diagnosed in humans in 1970. According to the profile of currently infected patients, most of them homosexuals or men who have sex with men (MSM), specialists suspect a possible contamination through sexual contact, as well as through contact. with injuries to sick people or droplets released during breathingLucas Ninno/Getty Images
According to the U.S. Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, can spread monkeypox through contact with contaminated bodily fluids or shared items (such as clothing and bedding).”Roos Koole/Getty Images
Initially, monkeypox is transmitted by contact with infected monkeys or rodents, and is most common in African countries. Prior to the current outbreak, only four countries outside the continent had identified cases in history.seng chye teo/ Getty Images
Symptoms of the condition include fever, headache, body and back pain, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion and chills. There are also spots that appear on the entire body (mainly face, hands and feet) and evolve, forming crusts, which later fall off.Wong Yu Liang / EyeEm / Getty Images
The incubation period for the virus ranges from seven to 21 days, but symptoms, which can be very itchy or painful, usually appear after 10 days.Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Because it is a disease very similar to smallpox, the vaccine against the condition also serves to prevent contamination. In severe cases, treatment includes antivirals and the use of blood plasma from immunized individuals.Natalia Gdovskaia/ Getty Images
Despite being relatively rare and transmissible, European experts say the risk of a major outbreak is low.ROGER HARRIS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images
In Europe, the cases already exceed 50. The countries with the highest number of diagnoses are Portugal (20), Spain (23) and the United Kingdom (7), according to the AFP news agency. The US also confirmed a patient with the diseasemmpile/ Getty Images
how to catch
The transmission of the virus that causes monkeypox between humans occurs mainly through contact with respiratory secretions, skin lesions of infected people or objects that have been used by patients.
In the current outbreak, there has been a prevalence of cases among men who have sex with men. However, so far, there is no evidence that transmission between patients was through sexual contact.
“Standard transmission is through contact with lesions and respiratory secretions. The hypothesis of sexual contact, until proven, only generates prejudice”, comments infectious disease specialist Ana Helena Germoglio, from the Federal District.
Health officials urge people who experience unusual skin changes to see a doctor immediately.
It is usually not necessary to carry out specific treatment for monkeypox, as the symptoms disappear within a few weeks. The doctor, however, may indicate the use of medications that relieve symptoms.