London offers the smallpox vaccine to people at risk. Portugal with active spread of monkeypox


Another virus unheard of in Europe is raising the alarm. The United Kingdom, Portugal and Spain confirm that cases of “monkeypox” are being diagnosed, in Portuguese, monkeypox, a milder form of smallpox that was eradicated in the 1980s. The Congo appeared sporadically in Europe and the United States, linked to trips to the African continent, but the fear now is that there is transmission in Europe.

In both Spain and England, the authorities confirmed that most cases were discovered in men who have sex with men, and in Portugal, the Directorate General of Light indicated that all the infected were young people. More than 20 suspected cases, 14 of which have been confirmed, have already been discovered in a sexually transmitted disease prevention clinic, Margarida Tavares, director of the National Sexually Transmitted Diseases Program, said yesterday, in men aged 20 to 20. 50 years.

The official also confirmed that some of them are men in same-sex relationships, but not all cases are so, and this was a warning to experts who spoke in recent days in the UK. Margarida Tavares emphasized that they see no reason to think about the development of a sexually transmitted disease, which is not described in this virus. Infection occurs through direct contact with respiratory fluids and droplets, so close contact with an infected person will help, whether of a sexual nature or not.

In the UK, where the first case was reported on May 7 in a person with a recent travel history from Nigeria, alerts are however being directed directly to the MSM community. Given that most of the patients were gay or bisexual men, transmission is thought to have started in that circle, but conviction is growing that it may be more prevalent in the community.

Yesterday, two more cases were confirmed in the country, bringing the total number to nine that are not related to each other. “The latest confirmed cases, as well as case reports in other countries in Europe, confirm our initial concerns that monkeypox could spread in our communities,” said Susan Hopkins, from the UK’s Health Safety Agency.

According to the Mail Online, the strategy to contain the outbreak is to offer an “off-label” smallpox vaccine to high-risk contacts, as the drug contains no indication of monkeypox virus, but it is thought that, being viruses of the same family, may have protective effect. The subject of contention is the Imvanex vaccine, which was approved by the European Medicines Agency in 2013, but which ended up not being used. In Portugal, according to Oi, this hypothesis is also on the table.

What is this disease? It is a zoonotic disease, when animals are vectors of viruses and parasites to humans, first identified in the 1950s in monkeys.

The first outbreaks of the disease were reported in the 1970s in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In addition to transmission by direct contact with infected animals, transmission between humans is known. In 2003, the first outbreak was discovered in the United States linked to a store that imported animals from Ghana. This year’s outbreak appears to be Europe’s first human-to-human infection, but the epidemiological links have not yet been established, so the authorities admit that there will be internal circulation of the virus and not just the so-called imported cases. .

Pay attention to symptoms According to the US Centers for Disease Control, the virus enters the body through wounds on the skin, respiratory tract, or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, and mouth).

Human-to-human transmission is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory secretions, i.e. prolonged talking near another person’s face, coughing or sneezing, as symptoms of this infection include influenza-like syndrome.

But their most characteristic is the rash on the skin and the scattered vesicles on the body, which are small balls. The infection also causes fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen glands, and fatigue. In a statement, the General Directorate of Health called on those who exhibit these symptoms to seek medical advice, stressing that in the event of suspicious symptoms appearing, direct physical contact should be avoided.

There is no specific treatment for this disease, which usually clears up within two to four weeks. According to the latest studies, the case fatality rate in the past ranged between 1% and 10%. In Portugal, Margarida Tavares revealed that the cases detected are minor.


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