It is a rare infection, with outbreaks that have appeared in different countries – apparently without any explanation – and that has a name worthy of a catastrophe movie. Monkeypox or monkeypox is the name of a disease that has begun to attract worldwide attention, but it is not new.
Dozens of cases -suspected or confirmed- in different countries of Europe and North America have been presented since the beginning of May, which makes experts think that this endemic disease in some areas of Africa may be expanding.
A long-standing illness
monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus that is transmitted from animals to people), first detected in humans in 1970, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country where it is considered endemic. Many cases are recorded in rural areas of the rain forest of the Congo and West Africa.
In early cases, direct contact with blood, body fluids, skin lesions, or mucous membranes of infected animals results in infection. For person-to-person transmission, close contact is required, with secretions from infected respiratory tracts or skin lesions in infected persons. Relatives of active cases are the most exposed, so immediate isolation is essential for control.
The incubation period can vary from six days to two weeks. –where the serious symptoms appear– and then comes the rash stage, where the lesions appear.
The illness lasts from 14 to 21 days. There is no specific treatment or vaccine, although –according to the WHO– outbreaks can be controlled. It is a disease that resolves itself without causing long-term consequences, although severe cases usually occur in children.
No pandemic in sight
“Peru has not yet declared the epidemiological alert. These are issued when there are cases or an imminent risk of entering the country. For that second reason it will be done”explains to Trade Dr. César Munayco, Executive Director of Health Surveillance of the Ministry of Health.
Munayco recommends that the population be attentive to the evolution of the disease and if they have had contact with people from Africa and feel symptoms, go to a health center and report the case.
“We should not think that every disease that is reported is going to become a pandemic. You have to keep calm and avoid speculation”indicates Christian R. Mejía, epidemiologist and professor at Norbert Wiener University.
an emerging problem
Out of control. Specialists from Oceana Peru recall that zoonoses are becoming more common due to wildlife trafficking, “because the products offered for human consumption, from various species, escape all sanitary control.”
40 cases of monkeypoxof which 14 have been confirmed, were reported to the health authorities in Portugal.
17 cases have been reported in Canada, although they have not yet been confirmed by laboratory tests.