Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo have monitored the health of passengers on flights with identified cases of monkeypox. The procedure was carried out by the City Health Department of Rio de Janeiro and the State of São Paulo Health Department, according to the authorities’ press.
Brazil has already recorded seven cases of this disease. The last of them was confirmed by the Ministry of Health this Friday (17).
Of the seven cases confirmed in the country, four are from São Paulo, two are from Rio Grande do Sul, and one is from Rio de Janeiro. Nine more cases are being investigated. The first case in Brazil was enrolled on June 8.
In the capital of Rio de Janeiro, the City Health Department says it has begun investigating passengers in the same flight as patients with confirmed cases of monkeypox. Traveler data was provided by Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency).
The first case of monkeypox in Rio was confirmed on Tuesday (14). He is a 38-year-old man living in London who arrived in Brazil on June 11 and was taken care of at the Evandro Shagas Institute the day after his disembarkation. Samples were analyzed by Instituto Carlos Chagas Filho of UFRJ (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro).
The city’s secretary also works with the Rio de Janeiro State Department of Health to monitor people who come into contact with patients.
Currently, Rio health officials are already monitoring five people for being in close contact with him. It is observed whether they develop symptoms of the disease-if they do, a diagnostic test is done. But not all five of these are passengers on the plane, the Secretariat says.
According to the city ministry, the monitoring procedures that must be followed for passengers have not yet been defined.
In São Paulo, the State Department of Health states that it has contacted all passengers on the flight that confirmed the case. As with Rio de Janeiro, passenger data was provided by Anvisa.
Next, the health monitoring agency explains that it is responsible for collecting information at ports and airports for both monkeypox (the English name for monkeypox) and other illnesses. Amvisa states that it will pass passenger and crew information to national health authorities, such as the local secretariat, which define how to follow up on these people.
THE Seat For flights diagnosed with monkeypox, I contacted the Ministry of Health to comment on this protocol, but did not receive a response until the report was published.
Possibility of infection
Monitoring passengers on flights with confirmed cases of monkeypox still raises some uncertainty. This is because the transmission of the virus is mainly caused by contact with the wounds of the infected person. Another common method is to use materials such as clothing that come in contact with these scratches.
However, pathogens, which can also be transmitted through respiratory secretions, require close and prolonged contact. For example, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states that overtaking a sick person in a supermarket should not, for example, cause an infection.
Airplane transmission is unlikely just because it is unlikely to be transmitted through the respiratory tract. The CDC explains, “When a person with monkeypox travels by plane, there are no known cases of monkeypox among those sitting around, even if the international flight is long.”
Still, monitoring measures are important, especially in the early moments of an outbreak, such as what is happening now, says Raquel Stucchi, an infectious disease expert and professor at Unicamp (Campinas State University).
“I think this energy spent investigating passengers is justified at the moment when the first case in the country occurs,” he says.
According to Stucchi, one of the steps you can take in this situation is to use a daily survey or app that shows passengers whether they have symptoms that are common to monkeypox, such as fever and blistering lesions.
Based on measures to monitor these first flights, it is possible to determine if this initiative should really be taken against other similar cases, infectious scientists continue.
Clarissa damaso, a virologist at the UFRJ (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) and one of the researchers forming a working group to combat monkeypox organized at the university, said that important aspects should be followed in all cases. It is said to define a protocol.
“Even if the probability is [de transmissão] Low, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. That’s because skin-contact transmissions are the main method, and there are also face-to-face transmissions that get more complicated on the plane unless you’re familiar with the passengers next door, “says Damasso.
Virgologists have shown that the risk of infection can be increased by touching the infected person’s skin, such as by shaking hands or touching the body on an airplane.
However, if a person infected with monkeypox becomes aware that they have not developed a lesion during flight, the chances of infection are reduced. Therefore, Damasso states that it is possible to have different monitoring mechanisms depending on the symptoms of the infected passenger.
In any case, a known measure that can prevent the transmission of monkeypox through the respiratory tract is the use of masks. The CDC recommends that infected persons use the device in close contact with others.
Similar guidance is provided by Stucco. “The use of masks prevents this rare respiratory transmission,” concludes infectious scientists.