Affected by an outbreak of diarrhea since the beginning of the summer season, Florianópolis presented a reduction in cases for the first time.
The number of consultations in the two main UPAs (Emergency Care Units) in the capital of Santa Catarina – which was already falling, but still with high numbers – showed a reduction of 83% compared to last week’s balance.
In the worst week of 2023, the UPAs in the north, located in Canasvieiras, and in the south, on Campeche beach, totaled 1,356 cases of diarrhea in one week. On the 29th, the number had dropped to 916 attendances. In the last balance, on February 5th, the number dropped to 153 attendances.
The total number of reported cases reached 5,895 in the city. The speed and proportion of the outbreak on the coast of Santa Catarina was reported even in Argentina, where most of the summer tourists come from.
On January 25, the newspaper La Nacion reported the proliferation of cases not only in Florianópolis, but in other tourist destinations such as Balneário Camboriú, Bombinhas, Itapema, Piçarras and Porto Belo.
The fall in a few weeks was already expected by the health authorities after the conclusion, released on January 23, that the main agent causing the epidemic in the city was the norovirus, present in more than 60% of the samples collected for examinations.
Common in situations that gather people in very close coexistence situations –such as shared summer houses, excursions, cruises, barracks and the like– the virus is transmitted in the “fecal-oral” way. That is, it leaves an organism through the feces and enters another through the mouth.
Therefore, the main forms of prevention are to wash your hands well after going to the bathroom and avoid consuming water of dubious origin. After concluding that it was an outbreak of norovirus, the secretary of health of the capital released a booklet of recommendations.
According to Eduardo Sprinz, infectologist at the Hospital de Clínicas in Porto Alegre, the same characteristics that make the virus spread very quickly and reach many people make it difficult for it to remain for a long time, harming the same population.
As people infected with norovirus are immune to new infections for up to six months, the outbreak in the same group usually ends with the same speed with which it spreads. The caveat, in the cases of summer towns, is the high turnover of tourists, which can start new cycles of the virus. So it is recommended to keep an eye on preventive measures.
SEE TIPS FOR PREVENTION AGAINST DIARRHEA ON THE COAST
- Wash your hands with soap and water or an antiseptic solution;
- Drink treated water packaged in sealed packages or from a safe source;
- Avoid adding ice of unknown origin to drinks;
- Evaluate whether the food was well cooked, fried or baked;
- Avoid peeled or damaged fruits and vegetables;
- Avoid consuming food sold by non-accredited street vendors;
- Packaged foods must contain the producer identification and expiration date on the label, and the packaging must be intact;
- Do not bathe or frequent the sand on beaches considered unsuitable for bathing;
- Do not bathe or frequent the sand in regions close to rivers or streams;
- Do not consume sea water, paying special attention to children and the elderly, who are more sensitive and less immune than adults;
- Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling solid waste and sanitizing public restrooms;
- Follow good food handling practices.
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