Temas Especiales

20 de Sep de 2020

Nacional

Yellow fever jabs needed for travel

PANAMA. One hundred years after Panama led the world in the fight against the dreaded yellow fever disease, the Ministry of Health has ...

PANAMA. One hundred years after Panama led the world in the fight against the dreaded yellow fever disease, the Ministry of Health has stepped forward to order all foreign nationals and Panamanians entering or leaving the country to be vaccinated to prevent the resurgence of the disease.

Yellow fever is a viral, transmissible, preventable and acute infectious disease, that evolves rapidly, is particularly painful, and often fatal, that is transmitted through a mosquito bite.

Vaccinations are free, yet five dollars are charged for the international vaccination certificate, unless you have an expired one and are coming to get the vaccine once again. The vaccinations become effective after 10 days and last for 10 years. The ban on travel without the certificate is Nov 1.

The locations are: the international vaccination office of Metropolitan Health Region, located at Los Ríos (reverted area), main street, on the side of the Institutional Protection System, building 37 (SPI) ; the office of International Maritime Health in the port of Cristóbal, Colón province; and the office for Regional Epidemiology Coordination in the district of David, Chiriquí province.

A new center will be running from Monday at the Health Ministry’s “Programa Ampliado de Inmunizaciones” (PAI) located on 38th St and Chile Avenue, behind the former U.S. embassy on Balboa Avenue.

Vaccinations may be obtained Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The last cases of yellow fever in Panama were registered in 1974 and the Ministry of Health is complying with rules established in the 2005 International Health Regulation (RSI), to prevent the spread of epidemics.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 111 countries (including Panama) require travelers to be vaccinated.

Panama has an established epidemiological monitoring of yellow fever, proper attention of suspect cases, continuous education to the health team and the community on disease prevention and control, information, all dating back to Dr William Gorgas a U.S. Army surgeon.

During the construction of the Panama Canal (1904-1914) DrGorgas conducted a ruthless campaign to fight mosquitoes carrying malaria and yellow fever and, in the process, cleaned the streets of the then filth ridden city whose streets were filled with fetid pools of water.

He was sent to Panama by the U.S. Government after successfully wiping out the disease in Havana, Cuba where hundreds died every year and following his clean up campaign there were no deaths for 10 years.

In Panama he assembled teams to rid the city and areas along the route of the canal construction, of stagnant water and educated people that the twin killer diseases came from the bite of the mosquito, not bad air (mal-aria).

After he left Panama to become surgeon General of the U.S. army during World War I, a hospital in the Canal zone was named after him, grounds now used by the Health Ministry and the Supreme Court.

The Gorgas Institute in Panama, continuing research in tropical diseases, was opened 80 years ago, and occupies a building originally built for the University of Panama Medical school.

Among its achievements was the discovery of the hanta-virus, contracted from mouse and rat droppings.