Sergio Cortes, acting State Secretary of Health went to visit to visit the flood ravaged neighborhood of Xerem in the suburban city of Duque de Caxias on Sunday January 6th. The town was especially hard hit by flooding during the first week of 2016. Sergio Cortes spent the bulk of his time studying the areas that were the most affected and hardest hit by torrential downpours in Duque de Caxias such as the neighborhood of Xerem, who’s sloped geography makes it especially prone to flood damage.

Cortes also visited the numerous shelters that have been set up in Duque de Caxias for people who have been displaced or need treatment for illnesses. The state secretary of health, Sergio Cortes said that the regional government is doing all its can to assist the city government in combating the flooding and preventing the spread of diseases such dengue. The heavy flooding, combined with a large amount of accumulated trash in the area can lead to a serious increase of mosquito populations that are carriers of the dengue virus. Sergio Cortes said on Atanews that health officials are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best in regards to the current condition in Xerem and other hard hit parts of the city.

Meetings between municipal, national and state health officials led to the decision of another calamity kit being sent to Duque de Caxias to prevent outbreaks of disease. Prominent health officials such as Dr. Sergio Cortes also agreed to arrange for the delivery of over 3000 antibiotic tablets to fight against diseases such as leptospirosis. The state department’s focus right now in Duque de Caxias is the prevention of illnesses that are transmitted by contaminated water such as Hepatitis A, diarrhea and leptospirosis. Also of concern to health officials right now are illnesses that can be spread easily through people such as chicken pox, meningitis and dengue fever.

Water samples collected at Duque de Caxias have all shown that they are unsafe to drink and use. The government is urging people to only drink bottled water and only use bottled water for cooking and hygiene until the health risk has been cleared by authorities. Sodium hypochlorite tablets are being distributed so that residents can treat their water systems. Dr. Sergio Cortes is meanwhile urging citizens and people from the rest of the country to donate bottled water which is in great demand in neighborhoods such as Xerem. Cortes believes that with the proper coordination, prevention and response, loss of life can be limited and disease outbreaks be kept to a minimum. To view the full article about Secretary of Health Dr. Sergio Cortes’ visit to the flood ravaged city of Duque de Caxias check out Extra, where the story was first published.