Due to the sanitary emergency declared by the World Health Organization regarding smallpox, the civil association SETAC launched a protocol in the municipality of Puerto Vallarta to prevent the disease, which includes health promotion and prevention; primary, medical, and psychological care; and referral of possible cases.
SETAC's executive director, Paco Arjona Barbosa, informed us that up to August 22nd there have been 386 confirmed cases of smallpox in the country, with Jalisco in second place nationally with 69 confirmed cases, although in Puerto Vallarta in the last week there has been one case per day, hence the importance of preventing this disease.
"Our protocol has three pillars: first, the dissemination of care measures and identification of symptoms; then, in our offices, we provide primary, medical, and psychological care and patient follow-up, even through telemedicine; and finally, for the confirmation of cases, we refer them to the public health laboratory," explained Paco Arjona Barbosa.
It is important to highlight that this community program started in two nightclubs in the so-called romantic zone and is available to any commercial establishment that wishes to implement it, such as bars, restaurants, hotels, entertainment centers, etc. since these places have a high influx of people.
Alain Hernandez Flores, also from SETAC, confirmed that the disease lasts an average of 21 days, is transmitted by direct contact with the secretions of a sick person through mucous membranes or skin lesions, respiratory droplets, and objects contaminated with body fluids and can be prevented by avoiding direct physical contact with people who are sick or suspected of having the disease.
"Sexual contact is an activity that should be taken into account since smallpox is spread by very close contact between two or more people. Some practices can increase the risk of infection, such as sex with multiple people or sexual parties; this is due to the close contact between people, "he pointed out.
SETAC joined the demand of other civil organizations at the national level for the authorities to train the staff of health institutions to provide information, and dignified care, without stigma and attached to human rights, and, particularly, urgently to acquire vaccines for the prevention of smallpox, with its application to the population at higher risk.
What is SETAC?
It is an institution focused on the LGBT community that provides comprehensive health and wellness services and programs in an environment free of stigma and discrimination. It is a place where every person who works, donates, or requests service is made to feel part of our team. Together, we do things that are good for society and promote the values of solidarity, brotherhood, union, and service. This is shown in how we treat each other: with equality and respect.
SETAC published a microsite at setac.com.mx/viruela with information available to the population, as well as a community registry of smallpox cases, to contrast the data from the Ministry of Health and demonstrate that the contagions are not minor or isolated.
More monkeypox cases in Puerto Vallarta
When on June 11, two more cases of the disease occurred: a 40-year-old man, originally from Toronto, Canada, and a resident of Puerto Vallarta, who was at the beach club in the same place and on the same dates as the first case in the Entity. The third infection corresponds to a 23-year-old woman, a resident of Zapopan, who reported having interacted with foreigners in the last few days.
After two of the first cases of simian smallpox occurred in Jalisco, hoteliers in Vallarta assure that there is no risk, because it was focused on a beach club. The president of the Puerto Vallarta Hotel Association, Alvaro Garciarce Monraz assured us that so far he does not see a probable risk, since all health protocols are being followed.
"We as hoteliers continue as always applying the protocols required by the health authorities. We continue with the COVID-19 protocols and the fortuitous case of monkeypox that occurred is practically very controlled, it was very focused and in the traditional hotel industry we have not had any case of anything", commented the businessman.
However, the official emphasized that he is aware that most of the collaborators work in hotels, beach clubs, and restaurants at different times, for that reason the surveillance of the personnel is also constant, he said. "The protocols are always carried obviously of entry in the hotels of the collaborators and constant management for any situation. We have not lowered our guard and that gives us a considerable reduction of any type of illness," he said.
The hotelier sent a message to national and international tourists, pointing out that there is nothing to worry about. "There is no problem, Puerto Vallarta is safe, the hotel industry continues to implement the protocols, the authorities as well, I feel that it is very controlled and there is nothing to worry about", he said.