As indicated by the Minister of Education, Anabela Jiraça, on the recommendation of the Minister of Health, Oscar Cordon, this Friday, February 2, in-person classes are suspended in the municipalities of Cuyotenango and Mazatenango in Suchitepéquez.
The decision has been taken following an outbreak of acute neurological disease with suspicion of Guillain Barre syndrome detected in several departments in the south-western part of the country.
According to officials of the Ministry of Education (Mineduc), “the moment is uncertain” the measures, with the exception that the epidemiological situation in the affected municipalities will be monitored weekly.
On the night of 1 February, the Ministry of Health declared a population alert/epidemiological alert in the Coatepec departments, Suchitepéquez, Escuintla, Quetzaltenango and Retalhuleu, due to an “abnormal” increase in patients with muscle weakness and lack of strength. In the legs, symptoms that are associated with Guillian Barre syndrome.
As of January 31, 49 cases of people with these manifestations have been recorded, 40 from Suchitepéquez, 5 from Retalhuleu, 2 from Huehuetenango and 2 from Quetzaltenango.
The Health Ministry also confirmed the first two deaths of patients suffering from an acute neurological illness suspected to be Guillain Barre. They are a 43-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman who entered the Quetzaltenango Regional Hospital.
For several days, a multidisciplinary team composed of infectologists, epidemiologists, and other medical experts searched, collected, and analyzed water, food, and other water, food, and other water samples, analyzing them and establishing the origins of this outbreak. Traveled to.
Currently, the measure is for private schools, which started face-to-face classes in the second week of January. While the school year for public sector students is expected to start on February 19.
Jiraka explains that they have asked the Ministry of Health to send them protocols to deal with this situation and thus enable them to be distributed in schools, and at the time of starting classes, teachers are informed and they Know how to prevent and detect disease. Any symptoms to keep the educational community safe.
On the other hand, he said that Dr. Joaquin Barnoya, who is an expert in epidemiology and public health, will collaborate with MinDuc to address health and nutrition issues within the portfolio.
Francisco Cabrera, Technical Deputy Minister of Education in Mindauque, said they are in constant dialogue with the Health Ministry about how to deal with the situation. Additionally, by having schools begin classes by February 19, it gives them “margin to establish conditions and define how the start of the school year will look” in affected departments.
Ruth Gordillo, director of the education department in Suchitepéquez, confirmed that in the private sector in Cuyotenango and Mazatenango, in-person classes will be suspended and work will be done remotely. While the start of the public school year may be delayed.