A epidemic of leptospirosis is spreading in Nicaragua. For the moment the only reported cases are on the Pacific side around Leon, but since it is spreading fast, the Nicaraguan government has decided to act. The MinSa (Ministry of Health) has launched a campaign against leptospirosis. Unfortunately, it seems that they forgot to train the people conducting this campaign. The MinSa workers appear quite misinformed about the disease they are trying to prevent.
The two MinSa people who came to visit us on Saturday morning were distributing pills. They did not think it was necessary to explain what the medicine was nor the name of the pills; we were just told to take two during the day and that they were antibiotics to prevent leptospirosis. Out of 4 people who took these unlabeled pills distributed loose in a plastic bag, two threw up shortly after. The rest of the pills quickly went straight to the trash and a search on internet to see what these pills might have been revealed that antibiotics do nothing to prevent leptospirosis!
According to another skeptic of this government-run campaign, when two other MinSa workers came to distribute the pills at his house, he asked a few basic questions but it appears that he knew more than the two MinSa workers. Apparently, they couldn’t even tell him how the disease was spread. None of the MinSa workers we met talked about being extra careful with animals and the water that is consumed since the disease is spread via animal waste in food or water.
Considering how many stray animals are running loose around in Bluefields, I would imagine that it would be the first step to take to prevent such disease to spread here…. Maybe the MinSa has other information about the disease that we don’t…. or maybe they don’t and they’re doing a prevention campaign to show the international society that they are trying to do something to prevent an epidemic. It is quite sad to think about the money they are spending to distribute a useless pill when all this money could go to hospital around the country to try and treat people with the disease a bit better!