Various respiratory illnesses wrack Puerto Rico
By The Star Staff
State epidemiologist Melissa Marzán Rodríguez said Monday that Puerto Rico faces several types of respiratory illnesses that together are recognized as a “syndemic.”
“The epidemiological term when there is more than one outbreak affecting a population is syndemic. Syndemic is a scenario where there is more than one outbreak or more than one epidemic that affects a population and in Puerto Rico, for example, we can talk about a syndemic scenario because we have the COVID-19 pandemic, where it must be said that for today, in the last week we are seeing almost 1,500 daily cases,” Marzán said in a radio interview. “That raises the alert that we all have to be using the different prevention measures and with what has happened in the last two Decembers [2020 and 2021], cases have increased. COVID-19 is not over and we have influenza cases where we are above the alert threshold and the population that is most affected is the pediatric population.”
Regarding COVID-19, the island’s chief epidemiologist also noted that hospitalizations and related deaths have increased, in addition to cases of influenza and mycoplasma.
“In general terms [in regard to hospitalizations] it has remained at a moderate level,” she said. “If the metric becomes high, you have to resort to the use of masks.”
“For me it has always been a recommendation that the Department of Health continues to make,” Marzán said. “On the other hand, vaccination. In Puerto Rico there is the COVID-19 vaccine for the omicron variant with its different sublineages. If you belong to a risk group, people over 65, people with chronic conditions, obese or overweight, we call on you to go get vaccinated.”