Last updateFri, 07 Dec 2018 11am

2017’s optimistic dengue stats were misleading, health chief says

Jalisco’s Department of Health (SSJ) has reported an alarming uptick in the number of confirmed cases of dengue, which officials believe may be in part due previously faulty practices and inexperienced leadership.

The surprising revelations come a few weeks after Alfonso Petersen Farah – a respected doctor, city councilor and former mayor – stepped in to take the helm of an agency apparently mired in deep financial and management problems.

According to reporting by Guadalajara Spanish-language daily Milenio, dengue-related data for 2107 issued by the departing regime may have been incompetently or incorrectly undertaken, resulting in a set of epidemiological statistics that gave the public a much rosier picture of the situation than was warranted.

“We have 6,106 probable cases of dengue [this year], of which 1,784 were registered during the first 31 weeks … and from weeks 32 to 43 we have 4,322 cases,” newly appointed SSJ Public Health Director Mario Marquez Amezcua Marquez told Milenio. Four deaths have been reported.

Aedes aegypti mosquito

Marquez further indicated that 60 percent of cases are within the metropolitan area of Guadalajara, while Puerto Vallarta counts for 20 percent. The the remaining 20 percent of cases are scattered throughout 11 of the state’s remaining 13 sanitary regions, with the last two, Altos Norte and Altos Sur being free of reported cases.

The new health regime headed by Petersen has run their findings all the way up the flag pole to Felipe Gonzalez Roldan, general director of the federal Health Department, who has promised Jalisco full assistance in fighting the disease.

According to Marquez, departmental inexperience with dengue management is primarily what led to the epidemiological snafu.  But he also expressed optimism, saying that there is a “window of opportunity” to get back on the right track in the fight against the malady.  In addition to the 232 brigadistas currently undertaking fumigation tasks throughout the state, his department will also have the help of a further 100 brigadistas lent  by federal authorities and a large supply of insecticide.

Marquez also expressed hope that coming colder temperatures would greatly assist in stymieing the procreative vigor of dengue’s infamous patient zero, the aedes aegypti mosquito, which also is known to spread yellow fever and zika.  However, he emphasized that winter’s mosquito-suppressing chill won’t breed complacency in the SSJ’s efforts to control the spread of the potentially deadly virus.

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