Summer vacations have become the perfect opportunity that thousands of citizens take advantage of to get away from routine, rest, and enjoy the enigmatic beaches of the Mexican Republic throughout its territory. However, what is shaping up to be one of the most fun and pleasant experiences can pose a great health risk for tourists due to the contamination of some of the most popular coasts of the country.
For this reason, the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) in coordination with state health authorities and the National Network of Public Health Laboratories, analyzed 2,98 thousand samples of seawater in 290 beaches of 75 tourist destinations in the 17 coastal states.
Acapulco's most polluted beaches
The Cofepris analysis yielded favorable results since it was concluded that of the total number of beaches analyzed, 287 had adequate conditions for recreational use by tourists seeking to spend an unforgettable vacation in a tourist destination. However, surprisingly, the three remaining beaches that did not meet the sanitary standards are located in what is perhaps the most popular and preferred port for vacationing: Acapulco.
According to the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris), the most polluted and unhealthy beaches in Mexico are located in the coastal area of the port of Acapulco: Hornos, Suave, and Manzanillo.
The agency's communiqué informed that the tests carried out on the water of these beaches exceeded the established limits of 200 enterococci in 100 milliliters of water, which means a great risk of contracting different types of infections for the tourists who visit these beaches in Acapulco.
Due to their central location, these beaches have become some of the most visited beaches in Acapulco, however, for the last couple of years, the lack of maintenance and civic culture of the tourists has also influenced them to become the most polluted beaches in the popular and iconic port.
Although the report of the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) alerted both vacationers and locals of the Port of Acapulco, a ray of hope arose for tourists after said agency communicated that for the first time since Easter 2021, Playa Hermosa in Ensenada, Baja California, reflected levels suitable for recreational use. This achievement, they mentioned, was the result of the joint work between federal, state, and municipal authorities to protect the health of Baja Californians and tourists.
The aforementioned beach has presented "historical" results of elevated enterococci, which is why the State Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks in the entity (Coepris-BC) will carry out constant monitoring during the vacation period to guarantee that the water is of good quality.
What are enterococci and what are their health risks?
Sampling carried out by the Federal Commission for Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) allows monitoring of Enterococcus faecalis to prevent sanitary risks to protect the health of the population. This bacterium is resistant to adverse conditions and thrives in an environment with 6.5% sodium chloride (salt) and between 10° and 45°C.
It is relevant to consider that Enterococcus faecalis can be spread by contact with contaminated fluids or surfaces; this bacterium lives in the gastrointestinal tract harmlessly; however, if it spreads to other parts of the body it can cause serious infections.
In recent years it has been found that the increase in the number of strains of the bacteria causes them to be resistant to antibiotics. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, among others. However, the best diagnosis is made by a medical specialist.
The recommendations to prevent infections by this bacterium are to wash hands constantly, especially before eating and to maintain good hygiene.