The City Hall of São João del Rei, a municipality in Minas Gerais located in Zona da Mata, 190 km from Belo Horizonte, is investigating the causes of death of three children and the hospitalization of four others after presenting symptoms such as sore throat, fever, vomiting and blemishes on the skin.
Cievs (Strategic Health Surveillance Information Center of the State of Minas Gerais) was activated. The suspicion is that the children have been infected by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogeneswhich can cause, for example, pharyngitis and scarlet fever.
The deaths and hospitalizations occurred on September 24th, October 8th and 23rd. Those who died on September 24 and October 23 were 10 years old. The one who died on the 8th was 3. At least one of the hospitalized children was discharged and remains under observation.
In a statement last Monday (23), the Municipal Health Department of São João del Rei reported that a meeting had taken place with Cievs representatives to discuss the deaths of children in the municipality.
According to the statement, at the time there were no scientifically proven criteria for closing schools as a preventative measure to avoid more cases of the disease.
“There are children presenting symptoms of tonsillitis, fever, vomiting, spots or rashes on the skin that have, for the most part, undergone medical evaluation in the public or private network and are stable”, says the text.
This Wednesday (25), however, the city hall informed that the city’s public schools will be closed for disinfection. The return is only scheduled for November 5th. State schools continue to operate, as do private schools.
The city hall announced the purchase of 3,750 rapid kits to identify the bacteria in the city’s health system. Exams are being carried out by Funed (Fundação Ezequiel Dias) to confirm the causes of deaths.
The decree ordering the closure of schools justifies the decision by citing the “still present memory of the Covid-19 pandemic” and the “importance of maintaining prevention and protection measures for the health of the population, especially children”.
In a video released on social media on Tuesday (24), the mayor of São João del Rei, Nivaldo José de Andrade, states that the municipality is working to understand what is happening in the city.
“We don’t know what’s happening to the children. If it’s a virus, if it’s an Pandemic. It’s our enemy. Tomorrow I ordered all schools to close and we’re in meetings with doctors to find out what the problem is, but no one knows “, he said in the publication.
The State Department of Health of Minas Gerais (SES-MG) released a note this Wednesday afternoon in which it reiterates that, “at this moment, there are no criteria that prove an outbreak or risk to the health of the population of São João Del Rei, as well as no epidemiological evidence that justifies the change in the routine of the population’s activities, such as school strikes”.
The secretariat states that it monitors registered deaths with the Regional Health Unit and the Municipality of São João Del Rei and that it carried out this Wednesday, via videoconference, technical training for health professionals at the Regional Unit of São João Del Rei, which included with the presence of 122 participants.
The training, says the note, aimed to guide the health network in the timely detection and treatment of suspected cases of bacterial infection, with the identification of the appropriate diagnoses.
“On the same date, technicians from the Secretariat met with the Ministry of Health to work together and support EpiSUS Advanced – Training Program in Epidemiology Applied to Services of the Unified Health System of the Secretariat of Health Surveillance – in investigating the cases”, says the note.
SES-MG reinforces that, in cases of symptoms such as fever and sore throat, the population is advised to seek a UBS (Basic Health Unit) for correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
The State Department of Health also highlights that the best means of information for the population are official channels, avoiding the sharing of false news and unjustified alarm among the population.