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News Briefs; Pneumonia Outbreak – 40 Deaths in Nicaragua

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Pneumonia Outbreak – 40 Deaths
So far this year, 8,000 people in Nicaragua have been affected by pneumonia. Of all the respiratory diseases, pneumonia is the one that causes the most deaths in Nicaragua. The Vice President of Nicaragua, Rosario Murillo announced that; “So far this year, the Ministry of Health (MINSA) has registered 40 deaths due to this disease, seven if those died during the last week.” Averages of 328 cases of pneumonia per day were treated in the last week.  Pneumonia is an infection that causes inflammation of the air sacs in one or both lungs and the sacs may fill with liquid. Pneumonia causes a cough with phlegm, fever and difficulty breathing caused by the limitation of the absorption of oxygen. Some advice on prevention includes: Wash your hands frequently. Properly dispose of tissues used for cough or blowing your nose. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Smoking and smoke from cooking is an irritant. Avoid sudden temperature change. Keep away from known infected people and if you are infected, keep away from others as much as possible to avoid infecting them. Although anyone can get pneumonia, the higher risk groups are; older adults and children (or anyone) with chronic diseases. These groups should receive the annual vaccination against influenza and the pneumococcal vaccine. Both are free in all public health centers in Nicaragua.

Nicaragua Suspends Exports to Venezuela
The U.S. Treasury Department sanctions imposed on certain former and current government officials has made it difficult for Nicaragua to continue to export products to Venezuela. The sanctions are for “the non-respect of democratic principles or the rule of law as well as in the violation of human rights. The stated purpose of the sanctions is to exert more pressure on the Maduras government in Caracas, Venezuela. Nicaragua normally sends Venezuela meat, dairy, coffee, rum, tobacco, beans and corn. The US Embassy here in Managua has previously served notice to any U.S. citizens and companies that they need to review business transactions with Venezuela-affiliated companies such as ALBANISA to ensure compliance with the U.S. sanctions. Compared to the USA (Nicaragua’s number 1 trading partner, receiving over 45% of all exports), the Venezuela export market is small, representing 5% of total exports from Nicaragua in 2017. Typical products that were being exported to Venezuela were meat, edible offal, dairy products, coffee, rum, tobacco, beans and corn.

Last Week Pizza, this week Pollo (Chicken)
A Cargill processing plant will open in April next to their distribution center on Carretera a Masaya.  Cargill is going ahead with their investment plan despite a drop in the growth of chicken consumption over last year’s numbers (growth is down to 3.5% from 7% in the previous year). The capacity of the new plant is staggering. At full capacity, it will be able to slaughter 13,500 birds an hour for two eight-hour shifts… every day for six days a week! As odd as it may sound, chicken sales do provide a simple economic barometer and the slowing of growth in consumption is being hailed by some as an indication of there being less disposable income available to Nicaraguans. However, next up for Cargill is a 25 million dollar breeding hen operation to produce the fertile egg in Nicaragua and not have to import them.

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