While in Germany and Europe a possible double wave of coronavirus and flu in the coming fall worries experts, in Latin America the situation of the pandemic seems to continue to relax, despite the fact that the figures are not so encouraging. To this has been added the increase in cases of monkeypox in the region, where a new death was confirmed in Peru on Monday, after Brazil reported the first.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported that cases of COVID-19 In the americas, had declined for the first time in five weeks. However, the 1,600,000 new infections reported should be taken with a grain of salt, according to Colombian virologist Bladimiro Rincón, who works together with the University of Santander to monitor SARS-CoV-2 in different countries in the region.
#MonkeyPox It can be stopped “if its risks are taken seriously”, according to WHO
Tedros Adhanom warned that, as happened with COVID-19, misinformation about the infection “can spread on the internet” and stigmatize homosexual peoplehttps://t.co/muZgGfAnWG
– The Republic (@larepublica_pe) August 1, 2022
“We still have to wait to confirm a decline. What can be said for sure is that mortality has not been very high, compared to previous waves.”the expert Rincón explains to DW, highlighting that “vaccination coverage has influenced this, but more mortality has been seen in children and adults without vaccine boosters.”
The WHO had also warned that a third of the American continent remains unvaccinated, something that specialists fail to understand.. In most cases, “these are the ones that are serious. The apathy to vaccination is total. Youth and young adults do not take this type of disease seriously. Vaccination is the backbone to combat the pandemic,” says Rincón.
Faced with that challenge, The expert recalls that one of the strategies that has worked the most in the history of vaccination worldwide is the house-to-house search for peoplebut admits that this implies quite large financial, logistical and human resources, which most Latin American health systems do not have.
Virologist Andrés Moreira, from the Charité University Clinic in Berlin, is also concerned that genomic surveillance is no longer being carried out in the region, although the main reason why investment in this area has been relegated throughout the world would be the war in Ukraine, coupled with political difficulties.
“Politically it was decided that the pandemic was over and that is not true because we have new variants. If we don’t have surveillance of the virus, we won’t know what the current situation is in Latin America. The problem is also that people are tired of having to wear masks or take tests, ”says the Costa Rican specialist, in an interview with DW.
Monkeypox and the lack of information
Secondly, there is concern in the region about the increase in cases of monkeypox, which is already present in ten Latin American countries, especially after the WHO declared the disease a “public health emergency of international concern.” Despite the fact that experts consider that the spread of monkeypox could be contained better than that of COVID-19, great efforts would be needed to obtain the existing vaccines, but, above all, to inform society.
“In addition to the fact that these vaccines are expensive for the region’s health systems, they needto, in particular, awareness campaigns and information about the disease by the authorities and the media”, indicates the virologist Rincón.
Although anyone can get it, early research indicates that most cases have been detected in men who have sex with different men. Transmission would occur through respiratory droplets or direct contact with skin lesions. That is, the virus is spread by very close contact between two people, including kissing. For this reason, “vaccination should be focused on the high-risk population, patients with HIV or immunosuppressed patients,” advises the expert Moreira, from Charité.
For the virologist Rincón, the mix between weak health systems, the non-prioritization of a susceptible community and probable discrimination mean that “Latin America is currently a very important breeding ground for monkeypox: the third in the world”. Factors that, without a doubt, also contribute to the stigmatization of the disease.
US Kills Al Qaeda Leader Ayman Al Zawahiri in Counter Terrorist Operation in Afghanistan
Former Putin adviser who fled after Ukraine invasion suddenly fell ill and is now about to die
The night witches, the daring pilots who bombed the Nazis at night