Summary Background By October 30, 2022, 76,871 cases of mpox were reported worldwide, with 20,614 cases in Latin America. This study reports characteristics of a case series of suspected and confirmed mpox cases at a referral infectious diseases center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Methods This was a single-center, prospective, observational cohort study that enrolled all patients with suspected mpox between June 12 and August 19, 2022. Mpox was confirmed by a PCR test. We compared characteristics of confirmed and non-confirmed cases, and among confirmed cases according to HIV status using distribution tests. Kernel estimation was used for exploratory spatial analysis. Findings Of 342 individuals with suspected mpox, 208 (60.8%) were confirmed cases. Compared to non-confirmed cases, confirmed cases were more frequent among individuals aged 30–39 years, cisgender men (96.2% vs. 66.4%; p < 0.0001), reporting recent sexual intercourse (95.0% vs. 69.4%; p < 0.0001) and using PrEP (31.6% vs. 10.1%; p < 0.0001). HIV (53.2% vs. 20.2%; p < 0.0001), HCV (9.8% vs. 1.1%; p = 0.0046), syphilis (21.2% vs. 16.3%; p = 0.43) and other STIs (33.0% vs. 21.6%; p = 0.042) were more frequent among confirmed mpox cases. Confirmed cases presented more genital (77.3% vs. 39.8%; p < 0.0001) and anal lesions (33.1% vs. 11.5%; p < 0.0001), proctitis (37.1% vs. 13.3%; p < 0.0001) and systemic signs and symptoms (83.2% vs. 64.5%; p = 0.0003) than non-confirmed cases. Compared to confirmed mpox HIV-negative, HIV-positive individuals were older, had more HCV coinfection (15.2% vs. 3.7%; p = 0.011), anal lesions (45.7% vs. 20.5%; p < 0.001) and clinical features of proctitis (45.2% vs. 29.3%; p = 0.058). Interpretation Mpox transmission in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, rapidly evolved into a local epidemic, with sexual contact playing a crucial role in its dynamics and high rates of coinfections with other STI. Preventive measures must address stigma and social vulnerabilities. Funding Instituto Nacional de Infectologia Evandro Chagas, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (INI-Fiocruz).

6th February 2023 • comment

Objective: To estimate excess mortality by cause of death in Brazil and states in 2020. Methods: We estimated the expected number of deaths considering a linear trend analysis with the number of deaths between 2015 and 2019 for each group of causes and each federative unit. We calculated standardized mortality ratios (SMR) and 95% confidence intervals for each SMR assuming a Poisson distribution. We performed the analyses in the R program, version 4.1.3. Results: We observed a 19% excess in deaths in 2020 (SMR=1.19; 95%CI=1.18–1.20). The Infectious and Parasitic Diseases group stood out among the defined causes (SMR=4.80; 95%CI 4.78–4.82). The ill-defined causes showed great magnitude in this period (SMR=6.08; 95%CI 6.06–6.10). Some groups had lower-than-expected deaths: respiratory diseases (10% lower than expected) and external causes (4% lower than expected). In addition to the global analysis of the country, we identified significant heterogeneity among the federative units. States with the highest SMR are concentrated in the northern region, and those with the lowest SMR are concentrated in the southern and southeastern regions. Conclusion: Excess mortality occurs during the COVID-19 pandemic. This excess results not only from COVID-19 itself, but also from the social response and the management of the health system in responding to a myriad of causes that already had a trend pattern before it.

8th November 2022 • comment

COVID-19, vaccine hesitancy and child vaccination: Challenges from Brazil

by Michelle Fernandez, Gustavo Matta, Ester Paiva

In the world, the governments' policy decisions in response to COVID-19 were very different. Many countries, including in the Americas, political polarisation in health policies has been used as a tool for ideological dispute, draining out the debate around the right to social protection and health. During 2021, these strategies were used in vaccination policies. The consequences of the dissemination of misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines overflows distrust and hesitation into an entire public health project.

12th April 2022 • comment

By the first week of June, Brazil had reached almost 17 million cases and a little more than 472,000 deaths. A notable demographic change has been observed within this period, in which young and middle-aged adults representing an increasing share of patients in wards and intensive care units (ICU).

22nd July 2021 • comment

The dynamics underlying severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) reinfection remains poorly understood. We added to the registered case reports of reinfection in USA, Belgium/Netherlands, Ecuador and Hong Kong, a small cluster of individuals with two episodes of 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Virus genomic analysis and the host immune response were used to characterize this group.

8th February 2021 • comment

Essential workers have been shown to present a higher prevalence of positive screenings for anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals from countries with socioeconomic inequalities may be at increased risk for mental health disorders.

14th December 2020 • comment

Zika epidemic and microcephaly in Brazil: Challenges for access to health care and promotion in three epidemic areas

by Paulo Cesar Peiter, Rafael dos Santos Pereira, Martha Cristina Nunes Moreira, Marcos Nascimento, Maria de Fatima Lobato Tavares, Vivian da Cruz Franco, José Joaquin Carvajal Cortês, Daniel de Souza Campos, Christovam Barcellos

Since 2015 Brazil has experienced the social repercussions of the Zika virus epidemic, thus raising a debate about: difficulties of diagnosis; healthcare access for children with Zika Congenital Syndrome (ZCS); the search for benefits by affected families; social and gender inequalities; and a discussion on reproductive rights, among others. The objective of this article is to analyse access to specialized health services for the care of children born with ZCS in three North-eastern states of Brazil. 

14th July 2020 • comment