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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkMexico & Banderas Bay Area News 

Two Cases of Chikungunya Reported in Rural Vallarta

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June 2, 2015

Jalisco Secretary of Health Jaime Agustin Gonzalez Alvarez explained that the two patients were infected following contact with a man who returned from southern Mexico with the virus.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Jalisco health authorities have confirmed the first two cases of the Chikungunya virus in Puerto Vallarta, just days after the Jalisco Health Secretariat (SJS) launched "Operation Dengue and Chikungunya."

According to the SJS, both patients are residents of El Ranchito, a community in a rural area just outside the city.

Jalisco Secretary of Health, Dr. Jaime Agustin Gonzalez Alvarez, said that the two victims, a 49-year-old woman and a 3-year-old girl, contracted the disease after coming in contact with someone who returned from the southern part of the country with the virus. Both patients are being treated at the IMSS Puerto Vallarta facilities.

Three cases of dengue fever have also been confirmed in El Ranchito to date. With simultaneous cases of chikungunya and dengue in the same rural area, this was considered a 'mixed outbreak,' which led to an escalated effort to reduce the population densities of the aedes aegypti mosquito (the transmitter of these diseases) in the community, which will remain in place for several weeks.

The official said that the campaign against the diseases was intensified in El Ranchito and other rural areas last week, with health officials visiting 2,492 houses in 15 villages to eliminate all sources of standing water, which is where the transmitter mosquitoes reproduce.

He explained that a 'total siege' was conducted in El Ranchito, where every house was visited. After a week of implementing Operation Dengue and Chikungunya, Jalisco Public Health Director Dr. Hector Ramirez Cordero reported that there have been no more cases, which suggests that the specialists have ended the outbreak, but it will take three more weeks for this to be validated.

"Something very important, and which would be of great help, is for people to notify us promptly of any suspected case of this disease. This will give us the opportunity to attack the problem. Unfortunately, the person who came from the south of the country did not come to see us... he stayed at the ranch, and that resulted in the transmission of the disease to two other people," he said.

Gonzalez Alvarez lamented that Mexico faces a serious problem in terms of chikungunya, "as it is a disease that is truly disabling... once you get this disease you can not work... we do not know if it lasts eight days, eight weeks or eight months... it has an unclear and undefined pattern of evolution."

For this reason, the Health Secretariat is calling on the population to be more vigilant than ever. He asks for everyone to take preventative measures similar to those that have being carried out for years against dengue, such as making sure there is no standing water in or around your house. "Last year, 80% of the population in Puerto Vallarta set an example on how to carry out these preventive measures efficiently and effectively, and we encourage them to do so again," he said.

He noted that at present chikungunya is the number one red flag in the country. "It is a priority for the Federal Ministry of Health, and we must do everything necessary to ensure that the disease is not replicated. We have to understand that it is a disease that is going to arrive. We will attack, but we can not eliminate it one hundred percent because there are no borders, no barriers, for mosquitoes. We can minimize its impact, by being aware, being on the lookout, and treating it with a lot of respect."

He emphasized that the symptoms are similar to dengue, but with very severe joint pains similar to those caused by rheumatoid arthritis, which precludes patients from carrying out everyday activities.

Original NNC article translated and edited by Marķa Francesca for