Measles, another virus that turns on the alarms in Mexico | Society


A woman receives the vaccine against the measles in the town Hall Benito Juarez of Mexico City.
A woman receives the vaccine against the measles in the town Hall Benito Juarez of Mexico City.Isaac Esquivel / CUARTOSCURO

The coronavirus it is for these days, the protagonist of almost any conversation at any place. And Mexico is not the exception. But while the Covid-19 ranks filled the foreground of concerns in the background expands quiet another virus, the measles, that has turned on the alerts from the health authorities in mexico. In the last five weeks, the Government has registered 127 cases of this disease which was almost eradicated in the country. First, the outbreak is concentrated in Mexico City, then expanded to the State of Mexico, the entity that surrounds the capital. In the last few days the count included a case in the southern State of Campeche. The ministry of Health is now in a race against time with the vaccination as the only weapon to prevent this outbreak intersection with the curve of the coronavirus, something that the specialists are suggesting as disastrous.

The nightmare of health of Mexico City started last February 28. The Secretariat of federal Health reported that day that the Covid-19 had come to the countrythe hand of a resident of the capital who had travelled to Italy. That same day, and without so much echo, the health personnel of the city announced that it had diagnosed to a little girl of eight years of measles. What is worrying was that this was not an imported case, as the few registered in Mexico in the last 20 years, but that the contagion had been given locally.

A week before, in the prison north of the capital, one of the criminal more important city with more than 5,000 prisoners, among them the lawyer of former president Enrique Peña NietoI lived a day of visit. Among the visitors was admitted a child who had just returned to the country and he brought with him the measles. Once the virus entered through the doors of the prison, did not take long to spread. “The prison is a ground super fertile. The transmission in the captive populations it is very easy because the spaces are narrow,” explains the infectologist Sarbelio Moreno Espinosa as he recounted the episode that gave origin to the outbreak. “This started with adults that were not vaccinated. A lot of people have had a life super hard and there may never have been vaccinated,” she adds.

The days of visit in any criminal from Mexico include not only dozens of families lining up for hours to be able to log in, but a deployment of security personnel and dozens of street stalls that offer to sell all kinds of knick-knacks. “That is the easy way to contagion,” says Moreno Espinosa, “exchanges between a lot of people together”. Proof of this are data, which indicate that the first 60 cases reported, 46 were located in the office of the mayor Gustavo A. Madero, where is located the prison north.

The speed at which it spreads this disease, which is much higher than others, like the Covid-19, was one of the problems that helped to aggravate the situation, alert the infectologist Alejandro Macias. “While a person who has Covid-19 catches, on average, two or three people, one infected with measles spread to at least 10, so the rate of vaccination has to be very high, so that measles is under control,” says who was responsible for the national commissioner to the outbreak of H1N1 flu, which hit Mexico in 2009.

The resurgence of measles now, something that was more than two decades that the health workers did not see in the country, “points out that only 90% of the population, or less, is vaccinated”, alert Macias. A percentage that has dropped in the past two years in an abrupt way by the shortages of vaccines originated in the administration of Peña Nieto. The figures that gives the infectologist imply that at least some 13 million people, 10% of the total population of the country, have not received a dose or have received incomplete. “Measles does not forgive, when the falling rates of vaccination, the presence of outbreaks is given inevitably”.

The count of the cases that leads the Secretariat of federal Health shows that from the number 60, the spread of the virus away from the neighborhood that houses the criminal. Is dispersed by the cardinal points of the capital to cross the borders of the city, and escampar up to the State of Mexico first and, for a traveler that has not yet been traced, up to Campeche after. Something that threatens the health policy, until now, raised by the mexican authorities, who had attempted to narrow down the responsibility to the Secretariat of Health of the capital.

Before the onset of the outbreak, health authorities in Mexico City were forced to build fences toilets around the prison and of the reported cases, and launch a program of vaccination, the only way to tackle the problem, according to experts. Vaccinated inmates and the custodians and set up stalls in a few districts where they had registered the majority of those infected. Some 26,000 doses were given and other 168.000 were distributed in the health centres until march 31, assured this newspaper a spokesman of the Secretariat of Health capital. But the own official data, which show how the virus is scattered geographically, they are evidence that the strategy of containment was exceeded.

“It is to vaccinate a very precise way to those who are part of the group of risk,” argues Gabriel Soto, infectologist of the National Institute of Cardiology. For he is the only way to contain the virus in a context of global pandemic. “At this moment I can get massively, or make campaigns, because you can’t take the people to the street, nor to send people to vaccinate from house to house, because the are exposed to all the Covid-19”.

Moreno Espinosa, who is also working at the Children’s Hospital of Mexico, where he was attended to three cases of measles in the last few weeks, ensures that the situation “can be a disaster” if the vaccination strategy officer is not well-posed. “It is a race against time to get bogged down with the contingency, on the one hand we are saying that people will stay at home, and on the other hand, that will go to vaccinate. It is contradictory,” he adds. Dr. Macias goes a step further and warns: “if we have a at the same time an outbreak of measles and Covid-19 is going to be catastrophic, because we are going to see how saturated the hospitals”.

The “coronampión”, gasps Moreno Espinosa, who reports that when they received the first case at the Children’s Hospital of Mexico, they had to gather all the workers and train them in measles, so it is not confused with the coronavirus, as they have similar symptoms (fever, dry cough, sore throat). “We had to give a general overview because it is an event that again have measles”.

That information was not, however, the rest of the hospitals of the city. “What measles?”, teases a worker with a precarious mask of plastic while take alcohol gel in the hands of those who are about to enter the General Hospital of Mexico, one of the most important medical facilities of the city. “That we don’t have here. Enough we have with the coronavirus” sentence.

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