Colombia confirms top 3 cases of monkeypox
Colombian health authorities confirmed Thursday that the first three local cases of monkeypox have been detected. It was also shown that two of the patients had a recent history of travel to Europe.
Also on Thursday, Argentina confirmed a fourth case of the disease on the same day the World Health Organization’s emergency committee met to determine whether to declare monkeypox a pandemic or not.
Two of the Colombian cases were in Bogotá and the other in Medellín, it was also reported. “They have been identified in Bogota with a history of travel to Europe and, after taking serum samples, wound exudate and throat swab, are in isolation with contact tracing,” according to a statement from the Ministry of Health.
Director of Epidemiology and Demography Claudia Cuéllar urged all Colombians not to panic, but rather to pay attention to the possible appearance of symptoms or the suspicion of having been in close contact with a confirmed patient. Either way, she “call your EPS (Health Care Provider Entity) or go to the nearest health center,” she said.
Argentine authorities confirmed on Thursday a new case of monkeypox in the country, reported (west), which adds four infections so far.
The Argentine patient is a 45-year-old man residing in the province of Mendoza who had traveled to Spain in the past 21 days and who had a fever of over 38 degrees on 15 June as well as inflammation of the lymph nodes and vesicular rashes The case was suspected for the first time of monkeypox on June 19 and June 21 samples were sent to a laboratory. “At the moment, his health is good and he is undergoing the corresponding isolation,” according to the Argentine authorities.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed around 3,500 cases in 42 countries in the past six weeks, as a result of which an emergency committee met in Geneva to assess whether the monkeypox outbreak constitutes a “health emergency. public of international interest “. This is the highest alert level the agency can declare, a consideration currently held by coronavirus and polio.
Such a declaration would seek to increase coordination between countries and strengthen mechanisms for active case finding and implementation of measures worldwide to help curb the circulation of the virus, which is expected to happen in the coming weeks.
The results of the meeting will be announced to the press on Friday at noon, local time, or by Saturday morning, when a press release is also expected.
The meeting of the committee comes amid growing concern about the increase in cases in non-endemic areas outside of Africa, particularly in Europe but also in the Americas, with cases also in Asia and Oceania.
Spain became the country with the highest number of cases (over 800), followed by the United Kingdom (793), Germany (592), Portugal (317), France (277), Canada (245), the Netherlands (167) . ) and the United States (156), according to data released by the WHO on Thursday morning.
Several scientists have come out in favor of broadening the case definition, the criteria a patient must meet to be tested to confirm or rule out that he is a carrier of the monkeypox virus.
A letter published in The Lancet this month warns that “the current case definition would not detect the disease in a heterosexual man with the characteristic blistering rash if he did not travel. [to a risk area] or is it a confirmed case report.
“To the untrained eye, monkeypox can easily be confused with other diagnoses with dermatological conditions such as chicken pox, shingles, herpes simplex, syphilis, gonorrhea or molluscum contagiosum,” the letter continued.
Declaring monkeypox a global emergency would mean that the UN health agency sees the outbreak as an “extraordinary event” and that the disease could spread across even more borders. It would also give monkeypox the same distinction as the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing effort to eradicate polio.
Last week, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described the emergence of monkeypox as “unusual and worrying”. Until last month, monkeypox had not caused large outbreaks outside of Africa, where it has been making people sick for decades. One of the variants of monkeypox kills up to 10% of people. Africa has already seen more than 1,400 cases this year, including 62 deaths.
The vast majority of cases outside of Africa have been detected in men who have sex with men, but scientists warn that anyone who is in close contact with an infected person or that their clothes or bedding are at risk of infection. .
Although the WHO announces that monkeypox is a global emergency, it is still unclear what impact it could have. In January 2020, WHO declared COVID-19 an international emergency, but few countries realized it until March, when the organization described it as a pandemic.
According to health experts, the rash generated by monkeypox “usually begins one to three days after the fever begins. The lesions may be flat or slightly raised, filled with clear or yellowish fluid, so they can become encrusted. , dry up and fall.
Symptoms also include headaches, muscle or back pain, swollen glands and fatigue, as well as “rash”, which goes through several stages until it forms a scab which then falls off.
Infected people are contagious until all the scabs have fallen off, “according to the WHO.