Pharmacies say there are not enough medicines in the market to treat the widespread outbreak of conjunctivitis….
MERIDA – On Tuesday September 26, staff from several pharmacies informed their clients that ophthalmologic solutions for the treatment of conjunctivitis are not available anymore.
The private clinics of the medical network of these pharmacies, as well as the IMSS, ISSSTE and multiple health centers, also have an extraordinary demand on consultations for conjunctivitis, which is already considered as an epidemic disease in Merida.
Doctors diagnose the disease and prescribe eye drops of opthalmic chloramphenicol for control and healing, but when the people ask for the medicine the drugstore’s employees report that they ran out of these products.
The problem is similar in municipalities in the interior of Yucatan State, because in the southern and eastern areas there is also a shortage of medicines for the treatment of this disease, and there are many cases of children and adolescents of school age who have been infected.
In the early days of this month, conjunctivitis reached one of its highest “peaks” in Yucatan, with a daily record of 157 new official diagnoses.
Statistics released on Tuesday September 26 by the National System of Epidemiological Surveillance (Sinave) of the Health Secretariat reflect the seriousness of the problem: until the 9th of this month, health sector institutions had confirmed 18,794 cases of conjunctivitis in Yucatan, compared to 15,511 in the same dates of 2017.
This year’s case will far exceed the official records of previous years. In 2016, the official count was closed with 20,409 patients. In 2015 there were 20,543.
By 2015, that condition was practically under control. In 2014, for example, only 4,508 cases were reported.
José Antonio Aguilar Pérez, an epidemiologist with the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), says that the real numbers could reach twice what officials say, because many people do not go to public authorities to receive care and, therefore, their cases do not enter the statistics.
The 18,794 diagnoses so far in 2017 are equivalent to 75.4 per day, on average, about 5.7 cases per hour.
Yucatan is one of the states that had the most growth of cases in 2017. Mexico City, with much more inhabitants, registered 1,881, barely 779 more.
Authorities insist that this is an outbreak, not an epidemic, although the reality is that more and more people are coming to clinics for consultation for conjunctivitis.
Cases in the Peninsula
Rudy Coronado Bastarrachea, head of Sanitary Jurisdiction No. 2 (in Valladolid), reported that 300 cases of conjunctivitis have been recorded so far in their demarcation, more than twice as much as in the same period last year, when 133 were registered.
The official added, “That number is without taking into account the non reported cases.”
He also remarked that in several communities where there are health modules there is no longer stock of opthalmic chloramphenicol, and they already asked for 1,000 units of the medicine to the Health Secretariat to solve the problem.
Coronado Bastarrachea recalled that normally the health modules generally only keep five units of chloramphenicol, which are now insufficient to face the number of cases.
The chloramphenicol is available in some health centers, but in others such as Xcan, Chemax, Chikindzonot, Yokdzonot, Valladolid and some stations in Tizimín, the medicine is no longer available.
María de la Luz Mendoza Sologuren, director of the General Hospital of Valladolid, said that there are still some units in the pharmacy, but they could soon be terminated by demand.
The Quintana Roo Health Secretary Alejandra Aguirre Crespo confirmed that in recent days were registered 14,474 conjunctivitis cases.
“The rebound of cases is concentrated in the municipalities of Benito Juárez (Cancun) and Solidaridad (Playa del Carmen); where they report 7,660 and 2 thousand, respectively,” she said.
For his part, the director of the General Hospital of Cancun, Ignacio Bermúdez Melendez, anticipated that for the month of October an outbreak of conjunctivitis is expected in the Northern Zone of Quintana Roo, so already enough medicine was requested for the attention of the patients.
The official considered as natural the outbreak of this disease in the Yucatan Peninsula, so he recommended to the population to take extreme hygiene measures and not to greet by handshake, when transmitting the bacterium by human contact.
For his part, the governor of Quintana Roo Carlos Joaquin said that at least the south of the state has sufficient supply of medicines for conjunctivitis.
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, an almost transparent membrane that covers the white part of the eye and also the eyelids on the inside.
Although it is transparent, the conjunctiva has blood vessels that cover the sclera (white part) of the eye.
Any agent that triggers an inflammation will cause the dilation of these blood vessels, until manifested in red eyes and injected into blood.
Generally that inflammation is caused by viruses, but it can also have its origin in a bacterium or an allergy. Only in the allergy case the disease is not contagious, and with the bacterial case complications can arise if not followed a suitable treatment.
Dr. Enrique Ureña Bogarin, Head of Quintanan Roo Medical Delegation, explained that the conjunctivitis causes the sensation of sandstones in the eyes, redness, discomfort to light, swelling of the eyelids and secretions. In case of presenting these symptoms the person must go to his nearest Medical Unit.
He also recommended not visiting crowded places, washing hands frequently, not sharing personal items such as towels, dishes and glasses. Avoid handshakes, hugging and face-to-face contact.
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