43 new cases of monkeypox in Jalisco this week and the state ends transparency in reporting

When the first case of monkeypox was reported in Jalisco, in Puerto Vallarta, the State Department of Health (SSJ) began weekly reports on new cases, the location of cases, and how many cases that week were reported. Today, that transparency has ended.

Jalisco records the most cases in Mexico, outside of Mexico City, yet the SSJ has never disseminated information about monkeypox or issued any health warnings or recommendations on their social networks, and their weekly reports can only be found on their website if you know where to look. Getting information about monkeypox in the state isn’t an easy task and SSJ seems to want to keep it that way.

At first, the weekly monkeypox reports released by SSJ included the number of weekly cases, the municipality where those cases were diagnosed, the age and sex of the patient, and any recent travel history of patients. SSJ started to phase out reporting on the municipalities of new cases after Puerto Vallarta cases started to rise. At the same time, SSJ stopped reporting the age of patients and if they had recent travel, as earlier reports indicated most patients outside of Puerto Vallarta had recently traveled to the area, connecting a large number of cases to Jalisco’s most important city for tourism.

This week, SSJ did not include the number of new cases this week, only reporting there were new cases without specifying how many cases were diagnosed. After this publication went through previous SSJ reports we were able to determine that the total case count provided by SSJ would mean that Jalisco has 43 new cases of monkeypox this week, although that number was not provided to the public this week. Interestingly, this was also the highest weekly case count in Jalisco, something that SSJ was apparently trying not to disclose.

“As a result of active epidemiological surveillance led by the Jalisco Health Secretariat (SSJ) in all state units, for the detection, study, and timely care of suspected cases, new cases of monkeypox are reported this Monday in the state of Jalisco, which to date registers 127 affected, all males; with an average age of 34 years,” is the only information this week’s report discloses to the public about the number of cases. We know the previous week’s report disclosed a total of 84 cases to date, allowing us to determine this week there was a total of 43 cases added, a statistic most people not tracking week to week wouldn’t know from SSJ.

PVDN has reached out to SSJ about the lack of transparency without any response, and when PVDN contacted SSJ through their social media accounts asking for comment about why the department of health has never published information about monkeypox on their social platforms, we were blocked.

SSJ has also never disseminated information to the LGBTQ+ community or acknowledged that most cases are among men who have sex with men, information that could educate the population and help stop the spread of monkeypox, but a lack of transparency in the name of tourism has become the priority over public health.

It should also be noted that the city of Puerto Vallarta has never published information about monkeypox even though it was the first city in the state with a recorded case.

Most information and education about monkeypox in the area is being provided by civil organizations to pick up the failures of the city and state governments.

Until SSJ is fully transparent and does a better job of communicating risks, Jalisco will continue to be the state with the most cases in the country.

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