The Secretary of State for Health (SES) announced this Tuesday (31) that the first case of the Corumbá monkey herd has been reported. He is a 16-year-old teenager living in Porto Quijarro, Bolivia. The young man sought medical help in the municipality, is hospitalized and isolated.
In a statement, the secretary reported that the teenager was on April 26 in Santa Cruz de La Sierra, where he was consulted with a neurologist. The patient reported using the drug carbamazepine, and four days after changing the brand of the drug, he reported noticing red lesions on his body, spreading through his mouth and region.
Other inflammatory lesions were found on the skin and thorax, in addition to fever (38.5ºC), cervical, armpit and swollen groin, all of which were symptoms of the disease.
According to the teen’s mother, the family had no contact with anyone with similar symptoms and although the doctor’s waiting room was full, there was no one with the aforementioned symptoms. On the same day, the patient began to show reddish spots on his body, with broken lesions on his penis, hands and feet.
The teenager arrived in Corumba on May 29 and was treated in the Emergency Room in solitary confinement. On Monday evening (30), the victim was admitted to the Holy House.
The State Department of Health noted that several tests were requested to continue the investigation of the case. He stressed the need for clinical research to rule out diseases that are considered a differential diagnosis, such as chickenpox, shingles, measles, ticks, dengue, herpes simplex, bacterial skin infections, widespread gonorrhea, primary syphilis. secondary, chancroid, lymphogranuloma venereum, inguinal granuloma, molluscum contagiosum (poxvirus), allergic reaction (e.g. to plants).
1- What is a monkey?
Monkeypox is a syllabic zoonosis, a virus that infects monkeys but can infect humans, which is common in the forest regions of Central and West Africa. The disease is caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the orthopoxvirus family.
There are two types of Monkeypox virus: West African and Congo Basin (Central African). Although West African monkey virus infection can sometimes cause serious illness, the disease is usually self-limiting (does not require treatment).
The death rate for the West African virus is 1%, while in the case of the Congo Basin virus it can reach 10%. Children are also at greater risk, and the WHO has warned that smallpox during pregnancy can lead to complications, congenital smallpox or childbirth.
2- What are the symptoms? of the disease
The initial symptoms of Monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and fatigue. Skin lesions first appear on the face and then spread to other parts of the body, including the genitals. Skin lesions look like chickenpox or syphilis until they form a crust, and then fall off.
Symptoms of monkeypox can be mild or severe, and skin lesions can be itchy or painful. Larger cases of smallpox can go unnoticed and can be transmitted from person to person. They are likely to have low immunity to the infection in those who travel or otherwise suffer, as the disease is usually limited to certain parts of West and Central Africa.
3- How pollution occurs
The source of the infection in the reported cases has not yet been confirmed by the WHO. Generally, a monkey (human or animal) can be spread by contact with drops inhaled by an infected person (human or animal) or by contact with skin lesions caused by disease or contaminated materials, such as clothing and bedding. The incubation period for the monkey is usually between six and 13 days, but can range from five to 21 days. Therefore, infected people should be isolated and observed for 21 days.
4- How the disease was identified
The monkey was first discovered in 1958, when two outbreaks of a smallpox-like disease occurred in the colonies of monkeys stored for research. The first human case of the monkey was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, at a time when great efforts were being made to remove the smallpox. Since then, monkey pox has been reported in humans in other parts of Central and West Africa.
In this possible outbreak in 2022, the first case identified in England in a man who developed skin lesions in 5/5 was admitted to a London hospital, after which he was confirmed to be taken to a specialist infectious disease center. Another case developed the same skin lesions at 4:30 p.m., and the disease was confirmed at 5:13 p.m.
5- He has the vaccine
Historically, the smallpox vaccine has been shown to protect against monkeys. Although a smallpox vaccine (MVA-BN) and a specific treatment (tecovirimat) have been approved, in 2019 and 2022, respectively, these countermeasures are not yet widely available and are not taken by populations under 40 or 50 worldwide. the vaccine, which was backed by previous smallpox vaccination programs because these campaigns were canceled. In the UK, the smallpox vaccine is offered to people most at risk.
6- How to prevent yourself
Residents and travelers in endemic countries should avoid contact with sick animals (dead or live) that can catch the monkey virus (rodents, marsupials and primates) and should not allow them to eat or handle wild game. It is important to sanitize your hands with soap and water or alcohol gel to prevent exposure to the virus, as well as to avoid contact with infected people and the use of objects from infected people and skin lesions.