Cuba redoubles epidemiological vigilance against monkeypox

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The Cuban Ministry of Public Health today redoubled its epidemiological surveillance efforts after confirming a first case of monkeypox in the Caribbean nation.

The ministry reported that as part of the strategy to deal with the disease, it will work for greater control at the entry points to the country and already has trained personnel for the timely detection of this disease.

A flow chart has also been defined for the care of patients with suspected disease, and measures for the control of outbreaks have been established.

The health authorities have already decided which assistance units will be used to treat cases with the disease.

There are biosecurity norms for patients, family members and service providers, taking into account the level of contagiousness and the way this pathology is spread.

On Saturday, the ministry reported that an Italian patient, in Cuba since August 15, became the first case of simian smallpox in the country.

According to the note, he presented general symptoms on August 17 and went to the health services on August 18 due to their persistence.

The patient is now in critical condition, with danger to his life. Possible associated causes that could have conditioned his severity are being studied.

To date, the clinical presentation of monkeypox cases associated with this outbreak is variable.

Many cases in this outbreak do not present with the clinical picture classically described for monkeypox (fever, swollen lymph nodes, followed by an evolving centrifugal rash).

Atypical features described include presentation of only a few or even a single lesion, beginning in the genital or perineal/perianal area and not extending further.

«The clinical presentation is generally described as mild and most cases have lesions on the genitals or in the perigenital area, indicating that transmission probably occurred by close physical contact during sexual activities,» medical reports stress. They point out that the incubation stage of monkeypox is usually six to 13 days, although it can range from five to 21 days, and most importantly, it affects any human being.

The disease is a viral zoonosis, endemic to remote areas of Central and West Africa, which produces symptoms similar to those seen in human smallpox in the past, although with less severe manifestations, specified the World Health Organization.

The infection is caused by direct contact with the blood, body fluids or skin or mucosal lesions of infected animals and there are still no specific treatments or vaccines against the disease.

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