The federal government has allocated one million pesos (US $52,000) to help fight dengue fever in Jalisco, where cases have tripled over the past 10 weeks.
The money will be used to pay a team of over 100 workers who will arrive in the state next week to bolster efforts to combat the mosquito-borne disease, state Health Secretary Alfonso Petersen Farah said yesterday.
Speaking at an international medical conference in Guadalajara, Petersen added that the team “sponsored and paid for by the [federal] Secretariat of Health” would be “a great help” in the state’s battle against dengue.
Between January and October 6,106 probable cases of dengue fever were recorded in the state, according to the state Health Secretariat (SSJ).
However, the real number of cases is likely higher, it said, because lab tests to confirm the presence of the disease in suspected dengue patients were not carried out for a period of three months due to a shortage of a required reagent.
The largest outbreak has occurred in the metropolitan area of Guadalajara and particularly in the Constitución neighborhood, located in the municipality of Zapopan.
A higher than usual outbreak of the disease can be attributed to a shortage of both insecticides and teams to implement preventative measures against the disease, the SSJ said.
The health secretary said that a decision earlier this year to terminate the contracts of workers who were working in dengue prevention would be reviewed and that he would take steps to employ more state government workers to complement those offered by federal authorities.
“. . . We will be contracting [the workers] that we need according to the behavior of the outbreak . . . we generally contract around 160 [people],” Petersen said.
The federal Health Secretariat, through the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control Programs (Cenaprece), will also send a shipment of insecticides to Jalisco, although it didn’t specify the quantity.
Petersen admitted that in the state public health laboratory as well as other areas of the state’s health system there are “a huge number of needs” that must be addressed.
Purchasing reagents that allow dengue cases to be confirmed is a priority, he said.
He also indicated that he is expecting a report from officials within the SSJ shortly detailing adjustments the state agency needs to make to better respond to health emergencies in the future.
Meanwhile, he assured that it is doing all it can to control the disease, also known as breakbone fever, that in severe cases can lead to death.
“For now, we are dealing with dengue, we’re carrying out preventative actions, particularly in the zones where we have an outbreak . . .” he said.
Residents of Guanajuato have also been affected by the disease in large numbers this year with heavy rain blamed for an increase in the dengue-carrying mosquito population although at least some of the patients included in the state’s 2,600 confirmed cases are believed to have become infected in other states.
Source: Milenio (sp)