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Ministry of Health warns of spread of oropoucha fever in the country; 13 states already have cases

The number of diagnoses of the disease increased fivefold between 2023 and 2024 and now exceeds 5 thousand; endemic in the Northern region, the virus is now identified in other areas of Brazil

OR Ministry of Health warned about the increase and spread of oropoucha fever in Brazil. According to the agency, as of March 13, the country had 5,102 cases of the disease, a number five times higher than that recorded last year (832). In this scenario, the folder draws the attention of healthcare professionals to the importance of correctly diagnosing patients.

The virus that causes the disease is considered endemic, that is, typical, of the Amazon region. Of the cases registered to date, 2,947 are ongoing Amazon and 1.528 inches Rondonia. However, there are already incidents and cases under investigation in 11 other states: Bahia, Acre, Espírito Santo, Pará, Rio de Janeiro, Piauí, Roraima, Santa Catarina, Amapá, Maranhão and Paraná.

Ethel Maciel, Undersecretary for Health and Environmental Surveillance at the Ministry of Health, points out that the onset of the disease outside the Northern Region began to be recorded a few weeks ago. “We believed it would be concentrated, but we saw there was a spread,” she said Brazilian agency.

To the Estadao, said he believes the main reason for the increase in the number of cases is the decentralization of the distribution of tests to diagnose the virus in laboratories. Previously, testing was concentrated in the endemic region and carried out, especially in research activities, when epidemics of other diseases with similar symptoms, such as dengue, occurred.

For this reason this virus – often ignored – can only be identified through laboratory tests. There is only one test capable of identifying the disease, developed by researchers at the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (IOC/Fiocruz).

In light of the cases identified, the Ministry’s alert draws the attention of healthcare workers to the oropoucha virus and the importance of testing, with the aim of correctly identifying the disease affecting each patient. This is because the treatment must be directed according to the case in question. According to Ethel, although they are similar, it has been observed, for example, that patients with oropouche have more intense headaches than those caused by dengue.

Regarding the risks linked to the current number of cases of oropoucha fever, the secretary explains that no deaths due to the disease have yet been recorded, but that it is still important to pay attention to the pathology. As preventive measures, the Ministry of Health has introduced disease surveillance strategies and the creation of guides and guidelines for doctors on the topic.

Learn about oropoucha fever

The oropouche virus is transmitted to humans mainly through the bite of the Culicoides paraensisknown as maruim OR phlebotomists. Transmission occurs when a mosquito first bites an infected person or animal and then bites a healthy person, transmitting the disease to them.

Emy Gouveia, infectious disease specialist at the Israelita Albert Einstein Hospital, explained to Estadão that there are two types of disease transmission cycles:

  • Sylvatic cycle: In this cycle, animals such as sloths and monkeys are the hosts of the virus. Some types of mosquitoes, such as Coquilletti diavenezuelensis and the Aedes serratusit can also carry the virus, but maruim is considered the main transmitter of this cycle.
  • Urban cycle: in the urban cycle, humans are the main host of the virus. Maruim is also the main vector, however some cases may also be associated with it Culex quinquefasciatuscommonly found in urban environments.

As we have seen, the symptoms of oropouche fever are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya: headache, muscle pain, joint pain, nausea and diarrhea.

On the other hand, while patients diagnosed with dengue may develop severe abdominal pain and, in severe cases, internal bleeding, this is not observed in oropouche fever. In this case, more serious conditions may involve compromise of the central nervous system, causing aseptic meningitis and meningoencephalitis (an inflammatory process involving the brain and meninges), especially in immunocompromised patients./WITH BRAZIL AGENCY

Source: Terra

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