Doctor Drauzio Varella asked the Ministry of Health to fight to get vaccines against monkeypox to immunize those who had contact with infected people. In an interview with GloboNewsthis Saturday, 30, he stated that the country is, “for a change”, acting slowly in the fight against the disease.
Brazil recorded the first smallpox death of monkeys this Friday, 29, and in one week it had a 65% growth in notifications of the disease.
“Look, according to the Ministry of Health, we have a thousand or so confirmed cases and more than 500 suspects. It’s too much. Until May, there was not, in April no one spoke about this disease in Brazil. Worldwide, the number is increasing, and fast. The WHO recognizes that we have more than 20,000 cases across more than 75 countries. […] We are in an epidemic outbreak, and I think we are, for once, reacting slowly,” he says.
The doctor also explains that the virus of monkeypox it is not the same as smallpox, but it is very similar, and it can probably be fought with the same vaccine. However, the biggest difficulty is getting the immunizer, as there are few in the world.
“The world has no vaccine. We have developed more modern vaccines, but they have been restricted to a few countries, especially for vaccinating military personnel. The Ministry has to act actively to obtain vaccines, the few that exist in the world. As we saw for covid, our Ministry is not very active in this area”, says Varella.
He also criticized science and the World Health Organization, saying that while the outbreaks occurred only on the African continent, there was no concern, as “it is a disease that only blacks can catch”, but when the virus began to spread around the world, “it starts to get white people”, and this is how the organs raise the alert for the threat.
Emergence of monkeypox cases
The first European case was confirmed on May 7 in an individual who returned to England from Nigeria, where monkeypox is endemic. Since then, countries in Europe and Asia, as well as the United States, Canada and Brazil, have confirmed cases.
How monkeypox is transmitted
First identified in monkeys, the viral disease usually spreads by close contact and occurs mainly in West and Central Africa. It has rarely spread elsewhere, so this new wave of cases outside the mainland is a cause for concern. There are two main strains: the Congo strain, which is more severe, with up to 10% mortality, and the West African strain, which has a mortality rate of around 1%.
The virus can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions and droplets from an infected person, as well as through shared objects such as bedding and towels. The incubation period for monkeypox is usually six to 13 days, but can range from five to 21 days.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Symptoms resemble, to a lesser extent, those seen in the past in individuals with smallpox: fever, headache, muscle and back pain for the first five days. Rashes (on the face, palms, soles of the feet), lesions, pustules and, eventually, crusts. According to the WHO, the symptoms of the disease last from 14 to 21 days.
How to prevent monkeypox
According to the Butantan Institute, among the protection measures, authorities advise that travelers and residents of endemic countries avoid contact with sick animals (live or dead) that may harbor the monkeypox virus (rodents, marsupials and primates) and must refrain from eating or handling wild game.
Hygienizing your hands with soap and water or alcohol gel are important tools to avoid exposure to the virus, in addition to contact with infected people.
The WHO claims to work closely with countries where cases of the viral illness have been reported.
*With information from Estadão Content