The Jalisco government is hiding the number of monkeypox cases in Puerto Vallarta

Following the first case of monkeypox reported in Puerto Vallarta, which was also the first in Jalisco, the State Health Department (SSJ) began releasing weekly numbers on new cases of monkeybox, the location, nationality, and any recent travel of the infected person. However, in the last six weeks, all that transparency has ended.

Recently, SSJ has changed the detailed reporting to simply reporting the total number of cases accumulated since the first case was reported nearly four months ago, meaning there is no more reporting of new cases broken down by week. If you aren’t tracking each week and making your own calculations and spreadsheets, which most of the general population does not do, then it’s not possible for the public to understand the current risk or trends of monkeypox in their area, leaving the weekly updates by SSJ dangerous to the public’s health.

Instead of the detailed weekly reports, now the public is subjected to reports with very little information but full of self-congratulatory pats on the back for the great work SSJ is doing to fight monkeypox, without being transparent on the numbers, although cases have risen by 211% in the month of September, which you wouldn’t know unless you keep a weekly spreadsheet as this publication does.

When asked why SSJ no longer reports the number of cases in Puerto Vallarta, as was done for the first two months of the outbreak, Secretary of Health, Fernando Petersen Aranguren, responded ‘it’s too difficult’ during a recent press conference in Puerto Vallarta.

The department that the public depends on to fight pandemics like COVID-19 and keep the public safe from outbreaks like Monkeypox finds it too difficult to inform the public where new cases are being reported in the state, even though SSJ manages the entire health system and has a clinic dedicated to monkeypox in the center of Puerto Vallarta.

It’s important to note that currently SSJ continues to report COVID-19 cases by municipality, and adding more complications, they continue to report daily on the number of patience in hospitals and the occupancy rate of each clinic and hospital. SSJ has the infrastructure to report cases of monkeypox, it’s a lack of will.

When this publication reached out to SSJ they were unable to answer our questions, when contacting them on social media to question why SSJ has never made a social media post about monkeypox, although the state has the most cases in the country, this publication was blocked.

Furthermore, SSJ has never issued a warning to men who have sex with men about the risk of monkeypox, although they make up nearly 100% of all cases in the state. Most places in the world have already warned members of the LGBTQ+ community about the risk, however, Jalisco hasn’t made any specific outreach to that community.

Currently, Jalisco has the most cases of monkeypox than any other state in Mexico (215), although Mexico City ranks first, it’s not considered a state of Mexico. Given this, the public deserves to know the risk within their own community and the trends happening with the spread of any virus, and who is most at risk. SSJ has failed in all these important aspects of public health, which is its principal reason for existence.

Puerto Vallarta is Jalisco’s main tourist destination and brings billions in revenue to the state, and an important sector of tourism to Puerto Vallarta is the LGBTQ+ traveler, who ranks Puerto Vallarta among the top 5 destinations for gay travel in the world.

As cases began to grow in Puerto Vallarta, SSJ became less transparent in reporting. The decision to end reporting on cases in Puerto Vallarta is only beneficial to one thing, tourism. The state has made the decision that tourism revenue is more important than public health. “It’s too difficult” is the wrong answer for any department in charge of public health, nothing should be too difficult to keep the population safe.

Dare I say that if nearly all monkeypox infections were among heterosexual men, SSJ would be a lot more transparent and willing to warn heterosexual men about the risk?

By Ian Hayden Parker

Puerto Vallarta News

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