Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública]]> http://www.scielosp.org/rss.php?pid=1020-498920040012&lang=en vol. 16 num. 6 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielosp.org/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielosp.org <![CDATA[<B>Anticipating new vaccines in the Americas</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892004001200001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en <![CDATA[<B>The epidemiology of rotavirus diarrhea in Latin America</B>: <B>anticipating rotavirus vaccines</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892004001200002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBJECTIVE: To assess the disease burden and characterize the epidemiology of rotavirus diarrhea in Latin America. METHODS: We conducted a literature review of studies of children < 5 years of age who were hospitalized or seen as outpatients for diarrhea and for whom rotavirus was sought as the etiologic agent of the diarrhea. This review included inpatient and outpatient studies published since 1998 that included at least 100 children and reported surveillance activities lasting at least 12 consecutive months. RESULTS: A total of 18 inpatient and 10 outpatient studies met the criteria for inclusion in this review. Rotavirus was detected in a median of 31% of inpatients (range, 16%&shy;52%) and 30.5% of outpatients (range, 4%&shy;42%). The median detection rate was higher in studies that used an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) (inpatients 38%, outpatients 33%) versus less sensitive methods of detection. The age distribution of rotavirus disease varied among countries, with 65%&shy;85% of children hospitalized in the first year of life. Most countries had rotavirus admissions year round, and rotavirus generally exhibited a winter seasonal peak in both temperate and tropical climates. CONCLUSIONS: The heavy burden of disease attributable to rotavirus in Latin America suggests that vaccines currently being tested could have considerable impact in preventing hospitalizations, clinic visits, and deaths. The findings of the young age distribution of patients highlight the importance of early immunization for the success of a vaccine program. The data suggest that future surveillance for rotavirus diarrhea in Latin America should use a standardized surveillance protocol with an ELISA for detection. Data from surveillance studies will be critical to monitor the impact of the future introduction of vaccines.<hr/>OBJETIVO: Valorar la carga de enfermedad e identificar las características epidemiológicas de la diarrea causada por rotavirus en América Latina. MÉTODOS: Realizamos una revisión de la literatura que abarcaba los estudios de niños menores de 5 años que fueron hospitalizados o atendidos como pacientes ambulatorios a causa de la diarrea, y en los cuales se buscó al rotavirus como agente etiológico de la diarrea. Nuestro trabajo de revisión incluye los estudios publicados desde el año 1998 sobre pacientes ingresados y ambulatorios, que incluyeron a 100 niños o más, y que informaron sobre actividades de vigilancia que se prolongaron durante al menos 12 meses consecutivos. RESULTADOS: Un total de 18 estudios de pacientes ingresados y 10 estudios de pacientes ambulatorios satisficieron los criterios de inclusión de nuestro trabajo de revisión. Se detectó el rotavirus en el 31% (mediano) de los pacientes ingresados (intervalo del 16% al 52%) y en el 30.5% de los pacientes ambulatorios (intervalo del 4% al 42%). La tasa mediana de detección fue mayor en los estudios que emplearon un ensayo de encimoinmunoanálisis (ELISA) (pacientes ingresados: 38%, pacientes ambulatorios: 33%) frente a otros métodos de detección menos sensibles. La distribución de la enfermedad rotavírica según la edad difería entre países, aunque la proporción de niños hospitalizados durante el primer año de vida fue del 65% al 85%. En la mayoría de los países se produjeron ingresos hospitalarios por rotavirus durante todo el año, y el rotavirus normalmente mostraba un máximo estacional en el invierno tanto en las zonas de clima tropical como en aquellas de clima templado. CONCLUSIONES: La importante carga de enfermedad que se atribuye al rotavirus en América Latina sugiere que las vacunas que están siendo ensayadas en la actualidad podrían tener un impacto considerable en la prevención de las hospitalizaciones, consultas a los centros de salud, y muertes. La distribución de la enfermedad entre los pacientes más jóvenes subraya la importancia de la inmunización precoz en el éxito de los programas de vacunación. Los datos sugieren que en el futuro, los programas de vigilancia para detectar la diarrea causada por rotavirus en América Latina deberían usar un protocolo normalizado de vigilancia con ELISA para la detección del virus. Los datos provenientes de estudios de vigilancia serán de importancia fundamental para el seguimiento del impacto de la introducción de vacunas en el futuro. <![CDATA[<B>The prevalence of and factors associated with depression in Colombia</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892004001200003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBJETIVOS: Analizar la prevalencia del síndrome depresivo y los factores asociados con la depresión en Colombia entre los años 2000 y 2001. MÉTODOS: Para este estudio descriptivo de corte transversal se aplicó una encuesta entre noviembre de 2000 y enero de 2001 a 1 116 adultos de 18 años de edad o más de uno u otro sexo que residían en viviendas particulares seleccionadas mediante un muestreo representativo nacional polietápico, estratificado según el grado de urbanización del área incluida en el muestreo. La depresión se clasificó en breve, subclínica o clínica (leve, moderada o grave) en los 30 días y los 12 meses previos a la entrevista. Se calcularon las frecuencias simples y estratificadas por la edad y el sexo, y los intervalos de confianza de 95% (IC95%) de más de 500 variables. La asociación de las variables seleccionadas con episodios depresivos se evaluó mediante un modelo de regresión logística con múltiples variables. RESULTADOS: De las personas estudiadas, 10,0% (IC95%: 9,2 a 10,7) presentaron algún episodio depresivo en los 12 meses previos a la encuesta y 8,5% (IC95%: 7,8 a 9,2) sufrieron alguno durante el último mes. Hubo una mayor proporción de mujeres con depresión en ambos períodos. Más de 50% de los episodios fueron moderados, tanto en hombres como en mujeres, y las mayores prevalencias se encontraron en las personas mayores de 45 años. Los factores asociados con la depresión en el último mes fueron ser mujer, considerar el estado de salud propio como regular o malo, sufrir de dolores o molestias, tener dificultades en las relaciones interpersonales, consumir marihuana o sustancias adictivas, medicamentos estimulantes o calmantes, tener dependencia del alcohol, o estar desempleado con discapacidad. CONCLUSIÓN: La depresión es una afección frecuente en Colombia. Se deben poner en marcha medidas dirigidas a reducir el riesgo de depresión, especialmente en mujeres y en personas mayores de 45 años de edad.<hr/>OBJECTIVES: To analyze the prevalence of depression and the factors associated with it in Colombia in 2000 and 2001. METHODS: For this descriptive cross-sectional study a survey was conducted between November 2000 and January 2001 with 1 116 men and women 18 years of age or older who were living in private homes that were selected through a multistage national representative sampling, stratified according to the degree of urbanization of the area included in the sampling. Depression was classified as brief recurrent depression, subclinical depression, or mild, moderate, or serious clinical depressive episodes in the 30 days and in the 12 months prior to the interview. Simple and stratified frequencies of over 500 variables, along with their 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs), were calculated by age and gender. The association that the selected variables had with depressive episodes was evaluated through a multivariate logistic regression model. RESULTS: Of the persons studied, 10.0% of them (95% CI: 9.2% to 10.7%) had had a depressive episode in the 12 months prior to the survey, and 8.5% (95% CI: 7.8% to 9.2%) had suffered a depressive episode in the preceding month. There was a higher proportion of women with depression in both of the periods. More than 50% of the episodes were moderate, in both men and women. There were higher prevalences of depression in persons older than 45 years. The factors associated with depression in the preceding month were: female gender; considering one's health to be moderate or bad; suffering from pain or discomfort; having difficulties in interpersonal relations; consuming marijuana, addictive substances, stimulants, or tranquilizers; being dependent on alcohol; and being unemployed and unable to work. CONCLUSIONS: Depression is a frequent disorder in Colombia. Measures directed at reducing the risk of depression should be implemented, especially among women and in persons over 45 years old. <![CDATA[<B>Human T-cell lymphotropic virus in family members of seropositive blood donors</B>: <B>silent dissemination</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892004001200004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBJETIVO: Verificar a ocorrência de transmissão do vírus-T linfotrópico humano entre familiares de portadores assintomáticos, identificados por ocasião de doação de sangue; e avaliar a provável direção da transmissão em parceiros sexuais com o mesmo diagnóstico sorológico (concordantes). MÉTODOS: Entre março de 1997 e junho de 2003 foram estudados familiares e parceiros sexuais estáveis de doadores de sangue soropositivos (e assintomáticos) para o vírus-T linfotrópico humano dos tipos I e II. O diagnóstico foi obtido pelos testes imunoenzimático e Western blot. Para determinar a direção da transmissão, foram coletados, através de um questionário, dados demográficos e comportamentais. Os participantes do estudo residiam na região metropolitana de Belo Horizonte, capital do Estado de Minas Gerais. RESULTADOS: A soroprevalência geral para o vírus-T linfotrópico humano do tipo I foi de 25,9% entre 352 familiares de 343 pacientes soropositivos (334 positivos para o tipo I e 9 positivos para o tipo II). Em mães, parceiros sexuais e filhos de doadores soropositivos a prevalência foi de 36,6% (15/41), 35,9% (42/117) e 17,5% (34/194), respectivamente. Os dados obtidos acerca de fatores de risco indicaram maior eficiência de transmissão no sentido do homem para a mulher. CONCLUSÕES: As taxas de prevalência sugerem agregação familiar da infecção por vírus-T linfotrópico humano. A transmissão se deu principalmente por via sexual (horizontal). Deve-se avaliar a presença do vírus em pessoas relacionadas a indivíduos infectados, mesmo se assintomáticos, para melhor compreensão da transmissão e implementação de medidas mais eficazes de prevenção contra a disseminação do vírus.<hr/>OBJECTIVE: To investigate human T-cell lymphotropic virus transmission among family members of asymptomatic carriers identified through blood donor screening tests; and to determine the most likely direction of transmission in sexual partners having the same (concordant) serological diagnosis. METHODS: Between March 1997 and June 2003 the relatives and steady sexual partners of seropositive, asymptomatic blood donors were investigated for the presence of human T-cell lymphotropic virus types I and II. Diagnosis was based on enzyme-linked immunoassay and Western blot. To determine the direction of transmission, demographic and behavioral data were obtained through questionnaires. All participants lived in the metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte, capital of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. RESULTS: The overall prevalence of infection with human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I was 25.9% among 352 relatives of 343 seropositive patients. The prevalence rates in mothers, sexual partners, and children of seropositive donors were 36.6% (15/41), 35.9% (42/117), and 17.5% (34/194), respectively. The demographic and behavioral data obtained suggest greater efficiency of male-to- female transmission. CONCLUSIONS: The observed prevalence rates suggest there is familial aggregation of human T-cell lymphotropic virus infection. The main transmission mode was horizontal (sexual). It is important to identify the presence of the virus in family members of infected individuals, even if they are asymptomatic. Doing so may lead to a better understanding of how the virus spreads and to more efficient measures for preventing disease transmission. <![CDATA[<B>Stigma, discrimination, and HIV/AIDS knowledge among physicians in Barbados</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892004001200005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBJECTIVE: To determine the extent of clinical knowledge of HIV/AIDS that physicians in Barbados have and their attitudes towards persons living with HIV/AIDS. METHODS: In 2000 the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners conducted a survey in order to assess its members' views on HIV/AIDS issues. Over a two-month period 203 physicians (76% of all those practicing in the country) were interviewed. The survey included physicians working in private practice and the public sector. They were surveyed individually concerning their attitudes towards counseling as well as their clinical knowledge, perception of safe practices, fear of occupational exposure, views on ethical issues, experience treating HIV/AIDS patients, and background with HIV/AIDS continuing education. RESULTS: In comparison to physicians who had graduated in later years, physicians who had graduated in 1984 or earlier had seen fewer HIV/AIDS clients, had lower levels of knowledge about the disease, were more likely to test for HIV/AIDS without informed consent, and were less likely to have ever attended a continuing education training course on HIV/AIDS. Overall, knowledge of the clinical indications of HIV/AIDS was low, and 76% of the physicians did not think they had adequate counseling skills. Over 80% of the physicians were comfortable looking after HIV/AIDS patients. While 95% of the physicians would not release HIV test results without a patient's consent, 33% would test, without consent, a seriously ill patient, and 15% would test without consent a patient upon whom they had to perform an invasive procedure if they perceived the patient to be from a high-risk population such as gay men or commercial sex workers. Only 53% of the physicians had attended an HIV/AIDS in-service training program between 1995 and 1999. CONCLUSION: Physician training in Barbados should focus on all aspects of HIV/AIDS care, including clinical and emotional factors. Attendance at such training should be mandatory for public sector physicians, and medical school curricula need to be examined to ensure their HIV/AIDS content is current and comprehensive.<hr/>OBJETIVOS: Dilucidar el alcance de los conocimientos prácticos que tienen los médicos de Barbados sobre el VIH y el sida y su actitud hacia las personas que padecen la enfermedad. MÉTODOS: En el año 2000 la Asociación de Médicos Generales de Barbados llevó a cabo una encuesta para evaluar las opiniones de los socios en torno a asuntos relacionados con el VIH y el sida. Durante un período de dos meses se entrevistó a 203 médicos (76% de los que ejercen en el país). En la encuesta se incluyeron tanto médicos del sector público como de consultorios privados. Las entrevistas fueron individuales y versaron sobre sus actitudes hacia la orientación de los pacientes, conocimientos prácticos, nociones de prácticas inocuas, temor de exponerse al contagio, modo de ver las cuestiones éticas, experiencia con el tratamiento de pacientes con VIH o sida y formación médica continua en el campo de VIH/sida. RESULTADOS: Comparados con los médicos egresados más tarde, los graduados en 1984 o antes habían tratado a menos pacientes con infección por VIH o sida, tenían menos conocimientos de la enfermedad, se inclinaban más a administrar la prueba diagnóstica sin el consentimiento válido del paciente y era menos probable que hubieran asistido a algún curso de formación continua sobre el VIH y el sida. En general, tenían poco conocimiento del tratamiento indicado y 76% no se consideraban capacitados adecuadamente para orientar a los pacientes. Más de 80% dijeron que se sentían bastante seguros atendiendo a pacientes con infección por VIH o sida. De los encuestados, 95% declararon que no entregarían los resultados diagnósticos a terceros sin el consentimiento del paciente, mientras que 33% dijeron que administrarían la prueba detectora sin consentimiento a un paciente grave y 15%, que lo harían si tuvieran que realizar una intervención invasora a un paciente de una población de alto riesgo, como las de homosexuales y trabajadores de la industria sexual. Solo 53% de los médicos habían participado en programas de adiestramiento en el servicio entre 1995 y 1999. CONCLUSIONES: Es preciso que la formación médica en Barbados comprenda la atención de pacientes con infección por VIH o sida, incluidos todos los aspectos, tanto clínicos como afectivos. Para los médicos del sector público debe ser obligatorio asistir a ese tipo de adiestramiento; además, es necesario examinar los planes de estudio de las escuelas de medicina para cerciorarse de que sean completos y actualizados. <![CDATA[<B>Analysis of risk factors for hypertension in Colima, Mexico</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892004001200006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBJETIVO: Evaluar la posible asociación de la edad, el sexo, el sobrepeso, los antecedentes familiares de hipertensión arterial (HTA), el alcoholismo y el sedentarismo con la HTA en la población adulta de la ciudad de Colima, México. MÉTODOS: Estudio transversal analítico de base poblacional. Se aplicó una encuesta estructurada a 280 adultos mayores de 30 años que residían en la ciudad mexicana de Colima en 2001 y 2002. Las variables estudiadas fueron el sexo, la edad, el peso, la talla, los antecedentes familiares de HTA, la práctica de ejercicio físico, el tabaquismo y el consumo de alcohol. La presión arterial (PA) se midió por el método auscultatorio. Las mediciones limítrofes o dudosas se repitieron cuatro o cinco días después. Se consideró que había HTA cuando la PA sistólica era >140 mm Hg y la presión arterial diastólica era > 90 mm Hg, o la persona estaba bajo tratamiento antihipertensivo. Se calcularon las razones de posibilidades (odds ratios, RP) de las variables estudiadas y sus intervalos de confianza de 95% (IC95%). La asociación entre las variables y la HTA se estimó mediante regresión logística y la interacción mediante el coeficiente de productos de interacción. RESULTADOS: La prevalencia bruta de HTA fue de 28,6%. La prevalencia fue mayor en hombres que en mujeres (42,1% frente a 19,2%, respectivamente; RP = 3,04; IC95%: 1,8 a 5,2) y en personas mayores de 49 años que en personas de 30 a 49 años (36,8% frente a 21,9%, respectivamente; RP = 2,07; IC95%: 1,22 a 3,50). Los antecedentes familiares de HTA y el sobrepeso mostraron asociación con la HTA, mientras que la práctica de ejercicio físico tuvo un efecto protector (RP = 0,45; 0,23 a 0,86). Se encontró interacción entre la HTA y la edad (> 50 años), los antecedentes familiares de HTA, el sobrepeso y la práctica de ejercicio físico, particularmente en mujeres. CONCLUSIONES: La prevalencia de HTA en Colima es muy semejante a la encontrada a nivel nacional en México. Su fuerte asociación con el sexo masculino, independientemente de las otras variables, resalta la necesidad de promover campañas preventivas más enfocadas en los hombres.<hr/>OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the possible association that age, sex, excess weight, family history of hypertension, alcoholism, and sedentary lifestyle have with hypertension in the adult population of the city of Colima, Mexico. METHODS: This was a population-based analytic cross-sectional study. A structured survey was used with 280 adults older than 30 years of age who were living in the city of Colima in 2001 and 2002. The variables studied were sex, age, weight, height, family history of hypertension, engaging in physical exercise, smoking, and consuming alcohol. Blood pressure (BP) was measured with the auscultatory method. Borderline or doubtful measurements were checked again four or five days later. Hypertension was defined as systolic BP > 140 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure > 90 mm Hg, or as the person being under antihypertensive treatment. The odds ratios (ORs) of the variables studied were calculated, along with their 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs). The association between the variables and hypertension was estimated through logistic regression, and their interaction through the coefficient of the interaction products. RESULTS: The overall prevalence of hypertension was 28.6%. The prevalence was higher in men than in women (42.1% vs. 19.2%; OR = 3.04, 95% CI: 1.8 to 5.2) and in people older than 49 years than in people 30 to 49 years old (36.8% vs. 21.9%; OR = 2.07, 95% CI: 1.22 to 3.50). A family history of hypertension and excess weight were associated with hypertension, while physical exercise had a protective effect (OR = 0.45; 95% CI: 0.23 to 0.86). There was interaction between hypertension and age > 50 years, a family history of hypertension, overweight, and physical exercise, especially among women. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of hypertension in Colima is very similar to that for Mexico as a whole. The strong association that hypertension had with male gender, regardless of the other variables, emphasizes the need for promoting prevention campaigns that focus more on men. <![CDATA[<B>Advice given to women in Argentina about breast-feeding and the use of alcohol</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892004001200007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en OBJECTIVE: To explore the types of advice that women in Argentina received from health professionals, family members, and friends about drinking alcoholic beverages and about alcohol usage during pregnancy and lactation. METHODS: In December 2001 and December 2002, structured interviews were conducted with a total of 167 women who were then breast-feeding or who had recently breast-fed their infant. Mothers were asked about the type of advice, if any, that they had received about the use of alcohol from health professionals and from family members and friends. Also included were questions related to the usage of the traditional Argentine beverage "mate" (an infusion widely consumed in South America that is prepared from the leaves of the Ilex paraguayensis plant) and the types of advice the women had received about breast-feeding and neonatal care in general. RESULTS: Of the 167 women studied, 96.4% of them reported that their physician had advised them to breast-feed their infant. In addition, 93.4% of the women said they had treated their infant's umbilical cord stump with alcohol. Fewer than half of the women (46.7%) reported that their physician had advised them about drinking alcoholic beverages during pregnancy, and even fewer (25.7%) received such advice during lactation. Family and friends were about equally likely to give advice about the consumption of alcoholic beverages during pregnancy (42.6%) and during lactation (47.9%). However, the type of advice changed, with the family and friends being significantly more likely to encourage drinking when the women were lactating than when they were pregnant (P < 0.001). Family members and friends also encouraged the drinking of mate to increase milk production. CONCLUSIONS: As in other cultures, in Argentina the belief exists that alcohol enhances lactation. However, the majority of women whom we interviewed had not been counseled by their health professional about the consumption of alcoholic beverages during pregnancy and lactation. There is a need for professional development strategies that will address women's awareness of the risks of alcohol consumption and alcohol usage.<hr/>OBJETIVO: Explorar el tipo de consejos que los profesionales de la salud, parientes y amigos le dieron a una muestra de mujeres en Argentina acerca del consumo de bebidas alcohólicas y el uso de alcohol durante el embarazo y la lactancia. MÉTODOS: En diciembre de 2001 y diciembre de 2002 se llevaron a cabo entrevistas estructuradas con un total de 167 mujeres que estaban amamantando o que habían amamantado recientemente. A las madres se les preguntó qué tipo de consejos, en caso de haberlos, les dieron los profesionales de la salud y sus parientes y amistades acerca del consumo de alcohol. También se plantearon preguntas sobre la bebida tradicional argentina, el mate -infusión muy popular en América del Sur que se prepara con las hojas de la planta Ilex paraguayensis- y la clase de consejos que recibieron las mujeres acerca de la lactancia materna y los cuidados neonatales en general. RESULTADOS: De las 167 mujeres estudiadas, 96,4% indicaron que el médico les había aconsejado que amamantaran a su hijo. Además, 93,4% afirmaron que habían frotado con alcohol el muñón umbilical del niño. Menos de la mitad de las mujeres (46,7%) indicaron haber recibido del médico asesoramiento acerca del consumo de bebidas alcohólicas durante el embarazo, y un porcentaje aun menor (25,7%) indicó haber recibido este tipo de asesoramiento durante la lactancia. Los parientes y amigos mostraron aproximadamente la misma propensión a aconsejar acerca del consumo de bebidas alcohólicas durante el embarazo (42,6%) y la lactancia (47,9%). No obstante, el tipo de consejo fue distinto en uno y otro caso, en el sentido de que los parientes y amigos mostraron una proclividad mayor (en grado estadísticamente significativo) a alentar a la mujer a consumir bebidas alcohólicas durante la lactancia que durante el embarazo (P < 0,001). Los parientes y amigos también alentaron el consumo de mate para estimular la producción de leche. CONCLUSIONES: Como en otros contextos culturales, en Argentina existe la creencia de que el alcohol mejora la lactancia. Sin embargo, la mayoría de las mujeres entrevistadas no habían recibido asesoramiento profesional acerca del consumo de bebidas alcohólicas durante el embarazo y la lactancia. Se necesitan estrategias profesionales orientadas a lograr que las mujeres cobren mayor conciencia de los riesgos asociados con el consumo y uso del alcohol. <![CDATA[<B>Human exposure to mercury in the Brazilian Amazon</B>: <B>a historical perspective</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892004001200008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en O objetivo do presente artigo foi reunir as principais informações obtidas por um estudo multicêntrico realizado por pesquisadores brasileiros que, durante a década de 1990, com apoio de instituições nacionais e internacionais, trabalharam na caracterização da exposição humana ao mercúrio em áreas de garimpo da Amazônia brasileira. Habitantes das bacias dos rios Tocantins e Xingu foram considerados segundo três conjuntos de procedimentos: 1) exame clínico, realizado a partir de protocolo padronizado, por pesquisador único, permitindo identificar cinco condições básicas de acometimento; 2) avaliações dosimétricas do metal em sangue, cabelo e urina, por espectrofotometria de absorção atômica (Projeto Xingu); e 3) investigação genotóxica, envolvendo quatro indicadores citogenéticos. Na primeira etapa, alcançaram-se 41 pessoas, observando-se a presença de mercúrio no organismo de garimpeiros e de seus familiares. A contaminação por mercúrio teve também uma distribuição ocupacional significativa e correlacionada diferencialmente com indicadores de ação genotóxica. A seguir, o Projeto Xingu, que atingiu 625 pessoas, enfocou 417 nativos da nação Kayapó, pertencentes às aldeias Gorotire e Djudjetiktire, 142 garimpeiros e 66 ribeirinhos. Os índios apresentaram os valores mais elevados de metilmercúrio no cabelo e de mercúrio total no sangue e na urina, bem como, nestas matrizes, contaminação freqüente por formas inorgânicas. Entre os resultados de interesse, acolhendo a recomendação específica da Organização Mundial da Saúde, atenção diferenciada foi conferida ao grupo de índias gestantes, por constatar-se que, apesar de não estarem expostas diretamente ao vapor de mercúrio, apresentavam valores relevantes de intoxicação. Apesar desse quadro preocupante, diversas conquistas sociais na década de 1990 sugerem, inclusive para as vítimas de agravos ambientais, o surgimento de novos padrões de dignidade na saúde e de uma ética pública pioneira no Brasil.<hr/>The objective of the present article was to present the most important data generated by a multicentric study carried out by Brazilian researchers who, with the support of national and international institutions, worked during the 1990s to describe human exposure to mercury in gold mining areas in the Brazilian Amazon. Three sets of procedures were followed with residents of the Tocantins and Xingu river basins: (1) clinical examination, based on a standardized protocol and performed by a single researcher, in order to identify five basic levels of contamination; (2) determination of mercury levels in blood, hair, and urine, using atomic absorption spectrophotometry (Xingu Project); and (3) investigation of genotoxicity by using four cytogenetic indicators. During the first stage, 41 individuals were studied. Mercury was found in miners and their family members. Contamination was significantly associated with occupation and showed a differential correlation with genotoxicity indicators. After that, the Xingu project, which encompassed 625 individuals, focused on 417 Kayapó natives from the Gorotire and Djudjetiktire villages; 142 miners; and 66 riverine individuals (ribeirinhos). The highest levels of methylmercury in hair and total mercury in blood and urine were found among the Indian population. Contamination with inorganic forms of mercury was also observed in the blood, hair, and urine of Indians. Following a specific recommendation from the World Health Organization, special attention was given to pregnant Gorotire and Djudjetiktire women, who, although not directly exposed to mercury vapors, showed considerable levels of mercury intoxication. Despite this worrisome scenario, a number of social achievements in the 1990s point to new standards of dignity in health care and of social ethics in Brazil that could benefit everyone, including the victims of environmental injury. <![CDATA[<B>Accidentes cerebrovasculares en estadounidenses de origen mexicano</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892004001200009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en O objetivo do presente artigo foi reunir as principais informações obtidas por um estudo multicêntrico realizado por pesquisadores brasileiros que, durante a década de 1990, com apoio de instituições nacionais e internacionais, trabalharam na caracterização da exposição humana ao mercúrio em áreas de garimpo da Amazônia brasileira. Habitantes das bacias dos rios Tocantins e Xingu foram considerados segundo três conjuntos de procedimentos: 1) exame clínico, realizado a partir de protocolo padronizado, por pesquisador único, permitindo identificar cinco condições básicas de acometimento; 2) avaliações dosimétricas do metal em sangue, cabelo e urina, por espectrofotometria de absorção atômica (Projeto Xingu); e 3) investigação genotóxica, envolvendo quatro indicadores citogenéticos. Na primeira etapa, alcançaram-se 41 pessoas, observando-se a presença de mercúrio no organismo de garimpeiros e de seus familiares. A contaminação por mercúrio teve também uma distribuição ocupacional significativa e correlacionada diferencialmente com indicadores de ação genotóxica. A seguir, o Projeto Xingu, que atingiu 625 pessoas, enfocou 417 nativos da nação Kayapó, pertencentes às aldeias Gorotire e Djudjetiktire, 142 garimpeiros e 66 ribeirinhos. Os índios apresentaram os valores mais elevados de metilmercúrio no cabelo e de mercúrio total no sangue e na urina, bem como, nestas matrizes, contaminação freqüente por formas inorgânicas. Entre os resultados de interesse, acolhendo a recomendação específica da Organização Mundial da Saúde, atenção diferenciada foi conferida ao grupo de índias gestantes, por constatar-se que, apesar de não estarem expostas diretamente ao vapor de mercúrio, apresentavam valores relevantes de intoxicação. Apesar desse quadro preocupante, diversas conquistas sociais na década de 1990 sugerem, inclusive para as vítimas de agravos ambientais, o surgimento de novos padrões de dignidade na saúde e de uma ética pública pioneira no Brasil.<hr/>The objective of the present article was to present the most important data generated by a multicentric study carried out by Brazilian researchers who, with the support of national and international institutions, worked during the 1990s to describe human exposure to mercury in gold mining areas in the Brazilian Amazon. Three sets of procedures were followed with residents of the Tocantins and Xingu river basins: (1) clinical examination, based on a standardized protocol and performed by a single researcher, in order to identify five basic levels of contamination; (2) determination of mercury levels in blood, hair, and urine, using atomic absorption spectrophotometry (Xingu Project); and (3) investigation of genotoxicity by using four cytogenetic indicators. During the first stage, 41 individuals were studied. Mercury was found in miners and their family members. Contamination was significantly associated with occupation and showed a differential correlation with genotoxicity indicators. After that, the Xingu project, which encompassed 625 individuals, focused on 417 Kayapó natives from the Gorotire and Djudjetiktire villages; 142 miners; and 66 riverine individuals (ribeirinhos). The highest levels of methylmercury in hair and total mercury in blood and urine were found among the Indian population. Contamination with inorganic forms of mercury was also observed in the blood, hair, and urine of Indians. Following a specific recommendation from the World Health Organization, special attention was given to pregnant Gorotire and Djudjetiktire women, who, although not directly exposed to mercury vapors, showed considerable levels of mercury intoxication. Despite this worrisome scenario, a number of social achievements in the 1990s point to new standards of dignity in health care and of social ethics in Brazil that could benefit everyone, including the victims of environmental injury. <![CDATA[<B>Una vacuna contra el virus de la inmunodeficiencia humana</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892004001200010&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en O objetivo do presente artigo foi reunir as principais informações obtidas por um estudo multicêntrico realizado por pesquisadores brasileiros que, durante a década de 1990, com apoio de instituições nacionais e internacionais, trabalharam na caracterização da exposição humana ao mercúrio em áreas de garimpo da Amazônia brasileira. Habitantes das bacias dos rios Tocantins e Xingu foram considerados segundo três conjuntos de procedimentos: 1) exame clínico, realizado a partir de protocolo padronizado, por pesquisador único, permitindo identificar cinco condições básicas de acometimento; 2) avaliações dosimétricas do metal em sangue, cabelo e urina, por espectrofotometria de absorção atômica (Projeto Xingu); e 3) investigação genotóxica, envolvendo quatro indicadores citogenéticos. Na primeira etapa, alcançaram-se 41 pessoas, observando-se a presença de mercúrio no organismo de garimpeiros e de seus familiares. A contaminação por mercúrio teve também uma distribuição ocupacional significativa e correlacionada diferencialmente com indicadores de ação genotóxica. A seguir, o Projeto Xingu, que atingiu 625 pessoas, enfocou 417 nativos da nação Kayapó, pertencentes às aldeias Gorotire e Djudjetiktire, 142 garimpeiros e 66 ribeirinhos. Os índios apresentaram os valores mais elevados de metilmercúrio no cabelo e de mercúrio total no sangue e na urina, bem como, nestas matrizes, contaminação freqüente por formas inorgânicas. Entre os resultados de interesse, acolhendo a recomendação específica da Organização Mundial da Saúde, atenção diferenciada foi conferida ao grupo de índias gestantes, por constatar-se que, apesar de não estarem expostas diretamente ao vapor de mercúrio, apresentavam valores relevantes de intoxicação. Apesar desse quadro preocupante, diversas conquistas sociais na década de 1990 sugerem, inclusive para as vítimas de agravos ambientais, o surgimento de novos padrões de dignidade na saúde e de uma ética pública pioneira no Brasil.<hr/>The objective of the present article was to present the most important data generated by a multicentric study carried out by Brazilian researchers who, with the support of national and international institutions, worked during the 1990s to describe human exposure to mercury in gold mining areas in the Brazilian Amazon. Three sets of procedures were followed with residents of the Tocantins and Xingu river basins: (1) clinical examination, based on a standardized protocol and performed by a single researcher, in order to identify five basic levels of contamination; (2) determination of mercury levels in blood, hair, and urine, using atomic absorption spectrophotometry (Xingu Project); and (3) investigation of genotoxicity by using four cytogenetic indicators. During the first stage, 41 individuals were studied. Mercury was found in miners and their family members. Contamination was significantly associated with occupation and showed a differential correlation with genotoxicity indicators. After that, the Xingu project, which encompassed 625 individuals, focused on 417 Kayapó natives from the Gorotire and Djudjetiktire villages; 142 miners; and 66 riverine individuals (ribeirinhos). The highest levels of methylmercury in hair and total mercury in blood and urine were found among the Indian population. Contamination with inorganic forms of mercury was also observed in the blood, hair, and urine of Indians. Following a specific recommendation from the World Health Organization, special attention was given to pregnant Gorotire and Djudjetiktire women, who, although not directly exposed to mercury vapors, showed considerable levels of mercury intoxication. Despite this worrisome scenario, a number of social achievements in the 1990s point to new standards of dignity in health care and of social ethics in Brazil that could benefit everyone, including the victims of environmental injury. <![CDATA[<B>Coinfección de <I>Trypanosoma cruzi</I> y virus de la inmunodeficiencia humana en hemofílicos</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892004001200011&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en O objetivo do presente artigo foi reunir as principais informações obtidas por um estudo multicêntrico realizado por pesquisadores brasileiros que, durante a década de 1990, com apoio de instituições nacionais e internacionais, trabalharam na caracterização da exposição humana ao mercúrio em áreas de garimpo da Amazônia brasileira. Habitantes das bacias dos rios Tocantins e Xingu foram considerados segundo três conjuntos de procedimentos: 1) exame clínico, realizado a partir de protocolo padronizado, por pesquisador único, permitindo identificar cinco condições básicas de acometimento; 2) avaliações dosimétricas do metal em sangue, cabelo e urina, por espectrofotometria de absorção atômica (Projeto Xingu); e 3) investigação genotóxica, envolvendo quatro indicadores citogenéticos. Na primeira etapa, alcançaram-se 41 pessoas, observando-se a presença de mercúrio no organismo de garimpeiros e de seus familiares. A contaminação por mercúrio teve também uma distribuição ocupacional significativa e correlacionada diferencialmente com indicadores de ação genotóxica. A seguir, o Projeto Xingu, que atingiu 625 pessoas, enfocou 417 nativos da nação Kayapó, pertencentes às aldeias Gorotire e Djudjetiktire, 142 garimpeiros e 66 ribeirinhos. Os índios apresentaram os valores mais elevados de metilmercúrio no cabelo e de mercúrio total no sangue e na urina, bem como, nestas matrizes, contaminação freqüente por formas inorgânicas. Entre os resultados de interesse, acolhendo a recomendação específica da Organização Mundial da Saúde, atenção diferenciada foi conferida ao grupo de índias gestantes, por constatar-se que, apesar de não estarem expostas diretamente ao vapor de mercúrio, apresentavam valores relevantes de intoxicação. Apesar desse quadro preocupante, diversas conquistas sociais na década de 1990 sugerem, inclusive para as vítimas de agravos ambientais, o surgimento de novos padrões de dignidade na saúde e de uma ética pública pioneira no Brasil.<hr/>The objective of the present article was to present the most important data generated by a multicentric study carried out by Brazilian researchers who, with the support of national and international institutions, worked during the 1990s to describe human exposure to mercury in gold mining areas in the Brazilian Amazon. Three sets of procedures were followed with residents of the Tocantins and Xingu river basins: (1) clinical examination, based on a standardized protocol and performed by a single researcher, in order to identify five basic levels of contamination; (2) determination of mercury levels in blood, hair, and urine, using atomic absorption spectrophotometry (Xingu Project); and (3) investigation of genotoxicity by using four cytogenetic indicators. During the first stage, 41 individuals were studied. Mercury was found in miners and their family members. Contamination was significantly associated with occupation and showed a differential correlation with genotoxicity indicators. After that, the Xingu project, which encompassed 625 individuals, focused on 417 Kayapó natives from the Gorotire and Djudjetiktire villages; 142 miners; and 66 riverine individuals (ribeirinhos). The highest levels of methylmercury in hair and total mercury in blood and urine were found among the Indian population. Contamination with inorganic forms of mercury was also observed in the blood, hair, and urine of Indians. Following a specific recommendation from the World Health Organization, special attention was given to pregnant Gorotire and Djudjetiktire women, who, although not directly exposed to mercury vapors, showed considerable levels of mercury intoxication. Despite this worrisome scenario, a number of social achievements in the 1990s point to new standards of dignity in health care and of social ethics in Brazil that could benefit everyone, including the victims of environmental injury. <![CDATA[<B>Emergency contraception in Latin America and the Caribbean</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892004001200012&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Introducing the post-coital birth control method in the family-planning services of Latin American countries has not been an easy task. Catholic and other conservative groups with great influence in the political arena have time and again stopped it from being adopted as an alternative method and have even succeeded in having it removed from official directives after formal acceptance by health authorities. The main objections are triggered by the erroneous supposition that "emergency contraception" pills are abortifacients. However, a large dose of cultural discrimination against women seems also to be involved. It has been extremely difficult to register dedicated products and make them available in drugstores and even more difficult to distribute them without charge at public health centers. They are hard to find, expensive, and unavailable to adolescents at risk for unwanted pregnancies and to most low-income women, especially in rural areas. Dissemination of appropriate information has been scarce and slow and there are still great numbers of people that do not understand how or why the method works. Brazil has been the only exception, as its open society has readily accepted this method of contraception. The Latin American Consortium on Emergency Contraception founded in the year 2000 and its regional conference two years later had an important impact on the situation, as they encouraged the coordination of efforts by governmental and nongovernmental entities with those of women's groups to fight for sexual and reproductive rights. A number of studies have shown that the more people learn about emergency contraception, the more they find it acceptable and necessary, and radio spots and other media techniques have begun to educate the public about this matter. In spite of the many difficulties encountered, in the last few years several countries have made strides to include this method in their public health guidelines. However, because of the powerful forces against it, accessibility and distribution of the emergency pills are not always implemented as planned and there are still many areas that require work. Details are given on the situation in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, and Peru. <![CDATA[<B>Assessing and monitoring vaccination coverage levels</B>: <B>lessons from the Americas</B>]]> http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1020-49892004001200013&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Según lo establecido por la Organización Panamericana de la Salud (OPS), conseguir una alta cobertura de vacunación es una meta esencial para la Región de las Américas. Es indispensable lograr niveles de cobertura de 95% o mayores para poder alcanzar los objetivos de la OPS de eliminar el sarampión y la rubéola, controlar las enfermedades prevenibles mediante la vacunación, y hacer perdurar la eliminación de la poliomielitis en territorio americano. Para poder alcanzar esos niveles, es imprescindible que las estadísticas de vacunación sean fiables y que las autoridades sanita- rias midan y monitoreen los niveles de cobertura a lo largo del tiempo. Los métodos elegidos por los directores de los programas de vacunación para calcular la cobertura dependerán de la información que haga falta. En general, los directores del Programa Ampliado de Inmunización (PAI) necesitarán información acerca de la cobertura para poder: 1) determinar la verdadera cobertura en los niveles nacional y local, 2) determinar cuán adecuada es la cobertura en una zona determinada, 3) monitorear las tendencias a lo largo del tiempo, y 4) monitorear las actividades de vacunación mientras se están llevando a cabo. Para lograr lo primero -determinar cuáles son los niveles verdaderos de cobertura-, los administradores tienen dos opciones: a) valerse de los datos acerca de las dosis administradas (es decir, el número de dosis de la vacuna que se ha administrado, dividido por la población que debió recibir una dosis) o b) llevar a cabo una encuesta para determinar la cobertura. Para lograr lo segundo -saber si la cobertura en una zona determinada es adecuada (por ej., mayor de 90%)-, se puede realizar un muestreo por lotes para garantizar la calidad (MLGC). El MLGC es una metodología de encuesta basada en el uso de muestras pequeñas que permite determinar si la cobertura en una zona determinada es adecuada o no, pero no sirve para estimar el nivel de cobertura. Para el tercer propósito -monitorear las tendencias a lo largo del tiempo-, se pueden usar los datos correspondientes al número de dosis administradas. Para lograr el cuarto propósito -determinar si procede vacunar o llevar a cabo una campaña de vacunación u otra actividad afín-, la "herramienta de monitoreo rápido" creada por la OPS es una magnífica solución. Cada uno de estos métodos posee ventajas y desventajas. Los datos sobre el número de dosis administradas, más la herramienta de monitoreo rápido, deben usarse para lograr las metas de vacunación en las Américas. Ambos métodos son los preferidos actualmente por la OPS para estimar la cobertura de vacunación.