Several years ago the influenza strain of H1N1 had caused serious health concerns throughout Latin and North America. There were a few death in the region related to the strain and the most memorable images would be healthcare workers and people constantly wearing hazard masks and walking around with bottles of hand sanitizers. Since then we have also experienced mosquito related illnesses like Zika. However, the H1N1 is surfacing again in Mexico and there have been dozens of cases in the State of Quintana Roo and 3 reported deaths. However, the influenza virus does not cause the same amount of alarm as it did in the past due to better care, diagnosis and management offered by the health sector. One of the individuals who was in the trenches at the time of the outbreak in Belize was Dr. Marvin Manzanero. Dr. Manzanero currently serves as the Director of Health Services and Love News asked him if we should be concerned about the cases in Mexico.
Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “As monitoring the actual situation I wouldn’t actually say that. We do monitor trends and situations across the region and there are international health regulations that will guide the reporting of any particular infectious case. We were flagged based on a couple of reports on local media in Yucatan and I believe now in Quintana Roo in terms of what would happen or what is happening. I believe they reported one death associated to H1N1 so we went back and reviewed our data we have not seen any spike in the number of cases of acute respiratory illness in Belize. We just checked this morning to check if Corozal is having any spike and we didn’t find any and Corozal is going to take some action in terms of going up to meet with the front line staff at the border station to monitor any particular case or any spike in cases.”
Reporter: Being that there are a couple dozen at least who within Quintana Roo and surrounding areas is there any advice given to Belizeans who plan to take a run to the border?
Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: ” Not really because you know H1NI is a strain of flu that can happen seasonally and regionally when you start seeing an abnormal increase of cases or mortality cases then that is where there is a real flag. As I said we haven’t seen any, we have been monitoring acute respiratory cases in Belize and we haven’t detected an H1N1 strain in the reports that we have been gathering so we will just monitor that situation but there is no travel advisory in this point in time – it’s the usual precautions that need to prevail.”
We will keep following this story.