#ecuador #zika #virus #dengue #flood #machala
On February 25th it had been raining the entire previous night, and disaster loomed, particularly in the poorest areas of the city. And disaster did arrive, with the city awakening covered in water and people having to leave their homes while seeking to salvage some belongings. The channel which crosses the city and flows into the ocean was clogged up at several places with trees and brush carried by the current. Adults and children worked to remove the shrubbery so that the level of the water which had invaded their homes and destroyed many of their belongings would go down. Luckily there was no loss of life, but a flood of this magnitude had not been witnessed since 1998.
It was to be expected that following the flood there would be cases of dengue at the hospital. I accompanied Dr. Stewart in researching the first of these cases, which was of a woman 38 years old who was in a bed in the emergency room of the hospital. She was covered by a mosquito net to avoid transmitting the disease to other patients who could be stung by mosquitoes which had stung her. The scientists took blood samples and, following authorization by the patient, the cluster procedure was carried out. This procedure consists of carrying out an inspection of the patient’s home, collecting any information scientifically useful, doing physical examinations of the family members, capturing mosquitoes, taking blood samples and repeating the procedure in another five homes of the neighborhood. The results of the cluster showed that several neighbors were also infected with dengue, and chose not to go to health centers, bearing the symptoms in a very adverse climate.
Convinced that the problem are not the diseases in themselves, but rather the lack of resources and poor living conditions endured, as in Machala, in many parts of Latin America, Dr. Anna Stewart and her team do not limit themselves to scientific research in Dengue, Chikungunia and Zika Virus, but also work in coordination with neighborhood associations to help them improve their basic services and the policies for disease prevention.