Chetumal, Quintana Roo — The National System of Epidemiological Surveillance says the presence of malaria remains present in Mexico, noting the disease was thought to once be wiped out.
The organization says that the first cases of malaria in the state of Quintana Roo have been recorded, making it the fifth state in the country. According to National System of Epidemiological Surveillance, other states in Mexico that have records of malaria this year include Chiapas (140), Chihuahua (19), Tabasco (11), Quintana Roo (8) and Campeche (2).
Their information shows that over the past five years, more than 100 cases of malaria have been recorded in the popular tourist state of Quintana Roo.
José Alberto España Novelo, director of the Mobile Units in Quintana Roo, said that during the 1980s, it was thought the disease was eradicated, but with the passage of time, it has mutated the strain which has made the disease permanent in several entities of the country.
He said it would be a serious impact for the state if a tourist became infected with malaria, especially since the mosquito that transmits the disease has spread to tourist areas such as Cancun.
“Malaria in Quintana Roo is a permanent endemic disease, which is why there are fumigation campaigns to eliminate the insect. It exists in areas where there is a lot of weeds like in Chetumal and the banks of the Hondo River,” he explained.
He acknowledged that the country has problems with this, which authorities have fought with various internationally authorized insecticides, however, it remains a very important tropical disease that has not been eradicated.
He stressed that the mosquito that transmits the disease circulates mainly in the municipalities of Othon P. Blanco, Felipe Carrillo Puerto and Benito Juarez, although there have been cases in the entire state.
Felix Hernandez Saenz, president of the College of Physicians in Quintana Roo, confirmed that malaria is still active on the banks of the Rio Hondo and being a step between the neighboring country of Belize that has no sanitary control, increases the risk of incidences.
There are four different types of malaria caused by four related parasites. The most deadly type occurs in Africa south of the Sahara Desert. According to the CDC, there are approximately 1,700 cases of malaria reported in the United States each year. In Canada, there are an average of 488 cases.