Jalisco reports 29 new cases of Monkeypox this week, government transparency at a minimum

The Jalisco Health Secretariat (SSJ) has reported a total of 156 cases of monkeypox in the state since the first known case in the state was reported on June 4, 2022, meaning an increase of 29 cases since last week’s minimal transparency report was released.

Since the first reported case in the state, SSJ has released weekly reports every Monday on the spread of Monkeypox in the state, including the exact number of weekly infections, the location of each positive case, and if the patient had recent travel. However, that transparency ended last month and shows no sign of returning.

As monkeypox has gone from a couple of cases each week to dozens of cases each week, the government of Jalisco has significantly reduced the information about the spread of monkeypox in its weekly report.

Now weekly reports only include the total number of infections since June 4, rather than specifying the number of new cases each week, as previously was being done. This is easy to calculate for people who maintain records of each report by subtracting last week’s total cases from the current week’s total cases, but the general public isn’t saving each week’s reports and the government knows that.

SSJ has also discontinued the reporting on which municipalities have new cases each week, now only disclosing the total number of cases in GDL since June 4, and listing the other cases as ‘other municipalities’.

In addition, SSL previously reported if any new cases had a recent history of travel. Before SSJ removed this information from their weekly report on August 15, at least half of all reported cases in the state were either located in Puerto Vallarta or had a recent history of travel to Puerto Vallarta and was considered a possible location for infection.

Just like in the early years of the HIV/AIDS crisis, the government shows little concern for the spread of monkeypox because the current outbreak is largely within the community of men who have sex with men. SSJ has become less transparent in reporting, likely to protect tourism in the state since Puerto Vallarta was the first known case in Jalisco and is the most important tourist destination.

SSJ has also failed to acknowledge what the CDC has already published, men who have sex with men are at higher risk. Not only is that information not being communicated to the public from SSJ, but the health authority in Jalisco has failed to disseminate any information about monkeypox on any of its social media networks.

If monkeypox was infecting heterosexual men and women at the same rate as gay or bisexual men, SSJ would be more proactive in public awareness campaigns, or at the very least, making one social media post to inform the public on how to protect themselves.

When this publication tried to contact SSJ to ask why the weekly reports have been reduced to minimal information, no one was willing to comment on the change in reporting. When we contacted SSJ via social media to ask why there has never been a publication about monkeypox on their social networks, we were blocked.

Perhaps the lack of transparency and an absence of community awareness by SSJ is the reason that Jalisco has the most cases in the country.

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