The Ministry of Health confirms the occurrence of three deaths from Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) in Campinas/São Paulo, referring to an outbreak in the municipality. Until the end of the morning of this Wednesday (June 14), the Health Department of the State of São Paulo was waiting for laboratory confirmation of a possible fourth death from the disease in the region.
Since the notification of cases, the Ministry of Health maintains contact with the state to monitor surveillance and assistance actions, providing technical support and assisting in carrying out the actions. The municipality of Campinas is an endemic area and the seasonal period for the disease in the country extends from May to September.
The transmission of RMSF occurs only through contact with a tick infected by bacteria of the genus Rickettsia. There is no transmission from person to person. Timely treatment is essential to prevent more severe forms of the disease and deaths. As soon as the first symptoms appear, it is important for the patient to look for health units for medical evaluation and treatment available in the SUS.
The Ministry of Health distributes antimicrobials recommended for the treatment of spotted fever to the states, and has been promoting recurrent training actions aimed at state and municipal surveillance, involving surveillance and health care professionals.
Currently, all federative units are supplied with priority drugs for the treatment of Rocky Mountain spotted fever – including São Paulo. In addition to the quantities already distributed, the Ministry of Health has a strategic stock and has already made it available to send new shipments to states that need it.
The department has also been publishing technical guidelines and recommendations for clinical management of suspected patients and environmental surveillance, in addition to disseminating educational materials for disease prevention.
Number of cases in Brazil
In 2023, the state of São Paulo recorded 12 cases, four of which recovered, six died and two are still under investigation. In Brazil, this year, 53 cases of the disease have already been confirmed, of which eight resulted in deaths. The highest concentration of cases is seen in the Southeast and South regions, and generally occur sporadically.
When notified of suspected cases, the Ministry of Health provides technical support to states and municipalities in the clinical management and investigation of cases, promoting the dissemination of information to state and municipal health departments for early identification of any new suspected cases and for promoting the timely treatment in order to avoid deaths.
In areas considered at risk, the Ministry of Health recommends the use of clothes that cover the whole body, prioritizing pants, blouses or T-shirts with long sleeves and closed shoes. Give preference to light colors. That way, ticks can be seen more easily by the body. Examine the body frequently, the faster the ticks are removed, the lower the chances of infections. If the animal is infested with ticks, seek advice from a veterinarian.