Monkeypox: prevention measures apply to the whole

A few days before Brazil confirmed three cases of monkeypox infection in children, the World Health Organization (WHO) had reinforced the alert on the risks of spreading the disease to the whole population, recalling that it is not reserved for specific groups.

Em press meetingWHO members reminded that the infection is particularly worrying and can cause serious cases in people who are still in the early stages of development, pregnant women and patients with compromised immunity.

According to the organization, more than 80 cases in children have been reported worldwide. There are fears that communal settings such as schools could become places of contagion and reported infections are being monitored.

Today, more than 20,000 people are infected in 77 countries. In Brazil, there are more than a thousand cases. The disease is considered a public health emergency of international concern.

Stigma

The concern of health authorities to warn about the risks for the entire population tries to fight against the creation of a stigma according to which the disease is linked to the LGBTQIA+ community.

More than 90% of the cases reported so far have involved men who have sex with men. The WHO itself included in the list of measures to prevent the spread the reduction of sexual partners, but clarified that this was not the only recommendation.

“Not all regions have the same epidemiology. Some have about 1/3 of women affected, in some areas children are affected. There are different types of multistreaming. We need to be very clear about who needs to have the information to protect themselves and that includes people who have sexual partners.”

“But there are other types of exposure and this message needs to be conveyed. Preventing stigma and discrimination is important. Our concern is that stigma, discrimination and fear prevent people from seeking a diagnosis and of care, which will undermine the response,” the technical lead said. WHO’s lead on monkeypox issues, Rosamund Lewis.

The infectious disease specialist and specialist serving the LGBTQI+ population, Vinicius Borgesstates that it is necessary to carry out interventions in the most vulnerable groups, but it is also essential to reinforce the fact that care is for all.

“Even if the epidemiological data indicates this high incidence in a specific group, it is a temporary situation. Every infection starts in a specific group, but it is everyone’s problem.”

“It is not a problem that a group does something bad. It is a public health problem. It is important to understand that the health of the neighbor, the neighbour, whether hetero, gay or bisexual is as important as yours.” “. Preventive care is valid for everyone. There is no way to talk about individual health without talking about collective health.”

Ariadne Riberito Ferreira, Community, Gender and Human Rights Officer at Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) recalls that the stigma associated with HIV has caused considerable damage and represented violations of human rights. According to her, society cannot allow the response to monkeypox to follow a similar path.

“Whenever a new epidemic appears and an increase in cases begins to be observed, it is very common to try to find some similarity among those affected, so that strategies are more effective in certain groups. But you have to be very careful with that.”

“You cannot make an association based on a certain group of people. Any form of prevention and communication must be so careful. We can no longer allow that, in a moment of desperation, when faced with a new challenge, even more marginalized those who suffer from the epidemic”.

prevention and care

Caused by a virus belonging to the genus Orthopoxvirus in the family Poxviridae, monkeypox bears similarities to human smallpox – which caused health crises around the world for centuries, until it was brought under control by vaccination in the 1970s.

Transmission occurs through close contact with bodily fluids, respiratory droplets, and contaminated materials such as clothing, towels, and bedding. The symptom-free incubation period is usually 6 to 13 days, but can be up to 21 days.

Signs of the disease include fever, body aches and headaches, fatigue, swollen glands and lesions with sores spread over the skin. Bruises are painful and itchy, and some blemishes can leave scars.

Patients with confirmed illness should self-isolate and those who were with these people should also be monitored. To prevent contagion, it is necessary to avoid close contact, such as kissing, cuddling and having sex and sharing personal items.

Editing: Rodrigo Durao Coelho

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