Monday 6 February 2023

Five months of monkeypox in Costa Rica: Is there local transmission?

In recent weeks there has been an increase in positives, many of whom had no history of traveling abroad

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QCOSTARICA – Monday marked five months since the Ministry of Health confirmed the first case of monkeypox (viruela del mono in Spanish) in Costa Rica, on July 12.

In recent weeks there has been an increase in positives, many of whom had no history of traveling abroad

In the weeks prior, there has been an increase in confirmed cases, of which the most recent stand out since they did not have a history of leaving the country, unlike the first, whose contagion could be identified by a history of travel abroad.

Precisely for this reason, many people now wonder if it can currently be determined that there is a local transmission of the simian virus in Costa Rica.

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José Aaron Agüero, a specialist from the Department of Health Surveillance, acknowledges that, indeed, there was a “significant” increase in diagnosed patients, the total of which now amounts to 47 positives, with an average of three to four cases per week.

However, the conditions of each case and, therefore, the contagion that originated them, are very different from each other.

“At the moment it is a transmission that is being generated like any other new disease, that at the beginning there are few cases and it is increasing little by little. The work between institutions has increased their efforts for the detection, confirmation and isolation of the cases. Still, We cannot indicate that it is transmission that is occurring locally, but each case and its contacts are being investigated, and not all of these contacts have come out positive, so it is a little early to confirm it,” he said.

The first cases diagnosed in Costa Rica were of people who traveled abroad or who had contact with a person who did. However, the latest cases have no known history of travel outside of Costa Rica’s borders.

That is why the experts reiterate the importance that research efforts on the transmission of monkeypox in the country. However, they point out that this work is progressing at a slow pace.

“When there is a longer period of time, we will be able to identify if the determinants define that the transmission is local,” said Agüero.

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Currently, 10 of the 47 cases remain in isolation. In addition, according to Salud, 100% of the patients in Costa Rica have been men and all are in an age range between 22 and 72 years.

The Ministry of Health, despite the number of patients, describes the care of this pathology as successful and continues to insist on its call to visit a health service immediately in case of noticing the presence of symptoms.

Monkeypox symptoms (CDC)

People with monkeypox get a rash that may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) and could be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.

  • The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing
  • The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy

Other symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Headache
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
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You may experience all or only a few symptoms:

  • Sometimes, people have flu-like symptoms before the rash
  • Some people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms
  • Others only experience a rash

 

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