Paraguayan and Uruguayan health authorities have been reported to be taking preventive measures regarding a possible outbreak of equine encephalomyelitis.
Although there are no confirmed cases in Uruguay yet, some occurrences are suspected in various departments (provinces). Health Minister Karina Rando said Wednesday that work was underway jointly with the Livestock Ministry after confirmed cases in Argentina and those suspected in Río Negro, Salto, and Paysandú.
The disease is transmitted by mosquitoes that previously came into contact with the virus and affects equines, which develop nervous and respiratory symptoms that can cause death.
The symptomatology is quite characteristic. We are already working with the Ministry of Livestock, which is spearheading this work because this mainly affects equines. It could affect humans, but it is much lower than in equines, explained Rando.
What is recommended, as it is transmitted through the mosquito, is the use of repellents, mosquito nets on windows, covering children's cribs with tulles. In fact, it is the same as what we have been recommending to avoid dengue or zika, she added.
Meanwhile, Paraguay's General Director of Health Surveillance Agueda Cabello said in a radio interview that her agency had already developed a protocol for the investigation of possible cases of equine encephalomyelitis in areas considered at risk.
Monitoring would focus on the Argentina-bordering departments of Ñeembucú, Misiones, and Itapúa, where there will be an intensified surveillance of the possible presence of cases of encephalitis, which could eventually be linked to the outbreak in the neighboring country.