The sentinel hospitals for the bird flu virus, that the Brazilian Ministry of Health is implementing in association with state secretariats from throughout Brazil, will be fundamental to save human lives, during a possible disease pandemic.
It is the opinion of the infectologist, Nancy Bellei, responsible for the virus research lab of the São Paulo Hospital, which may be designated as a sentinel hospital by the beginning of next year. This hospital had a similar function during the risk of an outbreak of the Asian Flu (SARS).
A sentinel hospital keeps providing services as usual, but employees have to register specific data about patients with any type of flu, and report data to the government.
According to Bellei, this is an important measure that helps to keep track of any increase in the number of cases, of areas that are contaminated, to identify new types of viruses, and to improve preventive measures and treatment.
"When there is a disease pandemic, it is very important to know exactly where the outbreak is occurring in order to treat and isolate the area."
There are currently two institutions that operate as sentinel hospitals in São Paulo. In the beginning of next year, there will be two more, and by mid year, there may be a total of eight sentinel hospitals in the state of São Paulo.
Brazil’s Minister of Health, Saraiva Felipe, participates on the 19th Meeting of Ministers of Health of the Mercosur and Associated States, this Friday, in Montevideo, Uruguay.
The objective is to discuss measures being taken by the economic bloc regarding a possible bird flu pandemic. There are also plans for cooperation agreements to be signed in the health area.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) regional advisor for the Americas, Otávio Oliva, will participate on the meeting and may give a presentation about bird flu in the world and the status of the disease in the American continent.