The Azores have not yet identified suspected cases of infection with the Monkeypox virus, but the Regional Health Directorate today admitted that they can be detected and issued a normative circular with the approach to be adopted.
“As far as we know, there are still no suspected cases in the autonomous region of the Azores, nor confirmed cases,” said in statements to Lusa, the regional director of health, Berto Cabral.
Since the beginning of May, the National Institute of Health, Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA), has detected 209 cases of human infection with the Abekopper virus in Portugal.
Most infections were reported in Lisbon and Vale do Tejo, but there are also cases in the northern and Algarve regions.
According to the regional director of Health of the Azores, although the virus is not as contagious as SARS-CoV-2, which causes covid-19 disease, it is “natural” that cases of monkey pox can be detected in the region.
“We have to look at this issue with concern, as cases have already arrived in Portugal, which has been rising in Portugal, and of course with the movement of people, even more so now in the summer and holiday season, it is natural that a positive case could reach the region, ”he pointed out.
Berto Cabral said the issued normative circular, aimed at health care and civil protection in the Azores, is “very much in line with the national standard” of the Directorate-General for Health (DGS) and “will regulate the way in which health care is provided. and how to approach suspected or confirmed cases “.
“It determines the definition of the case, how a suspected case is to be assessed, a probable case, the approach to be taken in relation to a confirmed case, the referral and the clinical approach to these suspected and probable cases, the way of notifying the cases, the laboratory diagnosis itself, ”he added.
The Regional Director of Health assessed that “it is not expected that a situation of this magnitude will occur” as covid-19.
“This situation is quite different, not least because infection does not happen in the same way. It is not expected a spread on a par with what happened with covid-19, not least because it will not be a disease of the respiratory tract. Manifestation, it has a more complex side, visible at skin level, and therefore the approach is completely different, the transmission is completely different, “he explained.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), since the beginning of May, 1,000 more cases of Monkeypox have been confirmed in 29 non-endemic countries.
The most common symptoms are fever, severe headache, muscle aches, back pain, fatigue, enlarged lymph nodes with increasing appearance of rash affecting skin and mucous membranes.
According to DGS, skin lesions usually start between one to three days after the onset of fever and can be flat or slightly swollen, with clear or yellowish fluid and eventually form sores and form scabs that later dry up and fall off.
The infection can be transmitted from person to person through close physical contact, including sexual contact.
Contact with personal clothing, bedding, towels, items such as cutlery, plates or other contaminated personal utensils can also transmit the infection.