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Leptospirosis hits another victim

Published: 
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Calls for more action in flood-hit areas as...

Despite ongoing spraying in the communities of Woodland, Penal and Barrackpore, which were swamped by flood waters recently, yet another case of leptospirosis has been reported at the San Fernando General Hospital.

The latest case was confirmed by South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) chief executive officer Gail Miller-Meade yesterday.

However, with a total of 15 cases and two fatalities being reported at the institution since October, Miller-Meade assured the hospital has the resources and equipment to deal with the leptospirosis cases. Saying the disease was not communicable, she said once preventative measures are taken the number of cases of leptospirosis will decrease.

“We have been advising people from these areas to wear protective gear, don’t walk outside bare-feet and to spray their surroundings because this illness is preventative,” Miller-Meade said.

Contacted yesterday, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said he too had spoken extensively about leptospirosis after the flooding.

“Any other information that you need you can call the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roshan Parasram,” Deyalsingh said.

He said Parasram also had the latest statistics and knew how the issue was being handled. However, attempts to reach Parasram were unsuccessful as his secretary said he was out of office.

Penal/Debe Regional Corporation chairman Dr Allen Sammy said spraying has been ongoing aggressively since the floods.

“Our spraying programme has never stopped but we have limited resources. We would like to cover two areas in one afternoon but we can only do one area at a time because we have a few pieces of equipment and one gang,” Sammy said.

He added that the corporation has been working with the County Medical Officer of Health to ensure all areas are properly sprayed.

“We have done rat baiting as well as spraying. We spent quite a lot of time in Woodland and we found a lot of vermin generally,” Sammy said.

But Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal, whose constituency was worse-hit by the flooding, said the Ministry of Health should pump more resources into the exercise to ensure that the spread of the rat-borne illness is contained.

“The deaths of the two infected patients and hospitalisation of others have confirmed that leptospirosis could become a major health epidemic crisis,” Moonilal said.

Agricultural economist Omardath Maharaj also called on Government to have a campaign to educate the national community on flooding, food security, diseases such as leptospirosis, cholera and meningitis, as well as bacteria such as salmonella and E. Coli.