Six people were reported Sunday to have died of COVID-19 in Argentina as 2,206 new infections were detected last week nationwide, a 48% increase in just one week (1,486 by Nov. 13).
The new data brings to 130,017 the number of deaths officially registered nationwide and 9,723,924 infections since the beginning of the pandemic.
Health authorities also said 237 people were hospitalized with the disease in intensive care units, with 41% of bed occupancy between private and public healthcare facilities.
Four of the victims died in Entre Ríos, one in Corrientes, and one in Mendoza.
Argentine health authorities also reported that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination had dropped altogether, leading to the appearance of more cases of tetanus, flu, chickenpox, rubella, and invasive bacterial infections.
According to the experts, there is a risk that immunopreventable diseases will increase their incidence shortly.
So far in 2022, six cases were detected in Argentina of tetanus, a vaccine-preventable disease transmitted via wounds in contact with contaminated surfaces. It is caused by a toxin produced by the Clostridium tetani bacteria. The disease can be fatal, but so far no deaths have been reported. Tetanus does not spread from person to person. Five cases of tetanus were reported in 2020 and none last year.
Two of the 6 cases of tetanus in 2022 occurred in children aged 2 and 3 years who should have had the complete primary [vaccination] scheme, according to Health Ministry experts. Cases were also detected in young and older adults who did not receive the vaccine and/or tetanus gamma globulin as appropriate for tetanus wounds.
In the province of Buenos Aires, during 2022 there was an increase in cases of chickenpox, meningoencephalitis, and other invasive bacterial diseases compared to last year. In the case of varicella, the increase in reported cases was 75% when comparing 2022 and 2021.
Buenos Aires Provincial Director of Epidemiological Surveillance Teresa Varela told Infobae that the restrictions on mobility due to the pandemic had reduced the number of chickenpox cases and that is why we took as a reference the incidence in 2019.″ In that year, 11,371 cases of chickenpox were reported. In 2022, 2181 cases were reported. This means that even the current situation did not reach alarm levels in terms of chickenpox,” she said.
Meningoencephalitis and invasive bacterial diseases are prevented with vaccines, but coverage was 75% nationwide on average, with regions such as Santiago del Estero reaching only 42%.
The province of Buenos Aires reported a 100% increase in cases of invasive bacterial diseases between 2022 (66 detections) and 2019 (33).
While the increase in cases of invasive bacterial diseases could be associated with reduced immunization coverage, we are also strengthening surveillance and improving records. We recommend the population visit us to check whether they are up to date with their vaccinations, said Varela.
This year's flu outbreak in Argentina may be related to declining immunization coverage, among other factors. The flu vaccine is included in the vaccination calendar for groups at higher risk of developing complications, such as people over 65 years of age, pregnant women, people with risk factors, such as COPD, and infants. However, adherence is still not high.
In 2022, the reported cases of people with the influenza virus - which causes the flu - have been 997,580 in the country. They implied that there was a cumulative incidence of 2,157.6 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. In other words, the cases of influenza already exceed those of pre-pandemic years. Already 122 flu deaths were reported this year, a disease which has shown unusual behavior, with cases mounting in the summer and again in spring.
Of the total of 2,685 people who needed to be hospitalized due to the flu between the first week of June and the last week of October, 81.68% had not been vaccinated against it, it was reported. Less than 40% of children in the Province of Buenos Aires aged 6 months to 2 years were vaccinated against the flu, while coverage reached only 69.2% of people over 65 years of age, Varela stressed.