Drink up: Health official reiterates that water did not cause diarrhea outbreak

Photo credit: blogs.crikey.com.au

Acting Chief Environmental Health Officer Ferdinia Carbon has reiterated that an outbreak of gastroenteritis on the island has nothing to do with Dominica’s water systems.

Following a number of reported case of diarrhea, health officials launched an investigation into the cause of the problem.

“We have been checking our water system and records that we have show that the water does not have any bacteria problems. We have not stopped there and we have gone out and sample the water more. We have also hyped up on our
education session with persons in various communities with regards to food and its preparation,” she explained.

Carbon said the ministry of health is very concerned about the outbreak.

“Most time cases are not really reported. If we have 100 cases, we might have a few 100 out there that might not come through the health centers. Some will do their own self treatment. We are concerned because we have what we call the burden of illness. The people that will be admitted, the number of persons that will stay away from work and the number of medication that we have to dish out. This will always have a burden on the economy,” she said.

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  1. only
    January 30, 2010

    Based on the lack of information presented in the article, it is not possible to say that there was an “outbreak” of anything specific. As for the CDC, once upon a time, when I was in school and before I learned certain political things about this organization, I had more respect for the CDC than I presently do.
    They are not the be all end all entity that you are taught that they are while studying in the health field.
    And I wouldn’t necessarily believe everything they say or hand out as gospel.

    As for the WHO, I have no respect for that organization, whatsoever. They are full of propaganda (e.g. the swine flu “pandemic” which fell flat on its face and is now being investigated as a money-making hoax by the pharmaceutical companies). They are associated with the U.N., a globalist front for one world govt. and population reduction.

    As for the first paragraph, after heavy rains, DWASCO, has in the past shut off water to areas for 1-2 days. Then when it is turned back on, nice, clean water is not what starts running through your water lines, at least not mine. What you get is muddy water with sand and soil particles. Until all of that gets flushed out, and you can’t always tell, even when the water may look clear, you may be ingesting bacteria that can cause diarrhea. Thank you DWASCO for reducing the frequency of shutting down the water supply.

    Before any speculation can be made would somebody over at the health ministry please provide some data.

    And yes, there are other causes for diarrhea, not just water or food contamination by pathogenic organisms or poor hygenic practices.
    Try IBS, Crohn’s dz, food allergies.sensitivities, malabsorption, celiac dz, ulcerative colitis, colon cancer, hyperthyroidism, Addisons dz, pharmaceuticals, chemicals sprayed on produce, herbicides, insecticides, certain minerals and laxative abuse.

    So, to lump all these people into one category “as an outbreak” may be unwarranted, especially without individual interviews or something solid to link them all together as well as their individual health status (which is frequently left out).

    As for handwashing, there was a lot of hype and switching to the “sanitizer” handwashing solution, most of which contained triclosan, back in the ’90’s.
    Well, they did studies on whether washing your hands with the chemical sanitizer solution was any better than just washing your hands with plain old liquid soap (not bar soap)), and guess what they found out……..

    Washing your hands frequently with the chemical sanitizer solution was actually detrimental. Why? Because frequent washing with these chemicals, erroded the skin surface, which is your barrier to the invasion of microorganisms. Thus, these people were causing abrasion to their skin through the use of these chemicals and thus leaving themselves open to infections.
    So, the bottom line is, wash your hands, but not with corrosive agents that damage the skin. Just the friction of washing the hands serves to remove microorganisms as well.

  2. True thing
    January 30, 2010

    For about more that a month now i have had that issues with a loose bowel; I find that was strange for over a month! but i had no idea that others in Dominica were experiencing the same thing. I belive the Health Department should find the root cause of the problem,, talking about it is not enough.. we need more action and we also need a 1800 number or at lease a number where we can call and have our issues discuss.. some people like me.. that works almost 7days a week

  3. STA
    January 30, 2010

    @ Only

    I am not saying that your statements are correct or incorrect. The definition of an outbreak according to The Center of disease control as well as the world health organization is as follows; Outbreak: is a term used in epidemiology to describe an occurrence of disease greater than would otherwise be expected in a particular time and place. From this definition i am assuming that is how it was determined that the cases of diarrhea was an outbreak (Could be wrong).

    I totally agree that running a lab is costly and that finance is a problem however, if proper monitoring systems are put in place the initial cost will be high but it will pay for itself in the long run. where less money will be spent on getting medication for the sick persons with diarrhea as indicated in the article.

    With respect to the health of person that is one factor which must always be considered. But your statement on possible causes of diarrhea to person though has weight but in this case does not hold too strongly.

    I only advise the Dominican public to wash there hands after touching surfaces, before meals. Use hand sanitizers if there is a lack of hand washing facilities and always let GHP( Good hygienic practices) be your safe guide.

    And Only your first paragraph i am confused somewhat on it…please clarify your statement .

  4. only
    January 29, 2010

    No, it wouldn’t have to do with DWASCO’s water systems because DWASCO has not turned peoples’ water off for a day or two and then back on after a big rain recently. When it is turned on, that is when the dirt starts flowing through the water faucets. I have had diarrhea from drinking that water. It generally takes 2 days at least for it to clear up after they do that.

    There is virtually no information given in this article to make any type of determination as to the source of the problem. Diarrhea can be caused by many venues. So what do all these people have in common?…….Anything? And who made the determination that this was an outbreak of something?

    From my experience, there is precious little money to spend on running lab samples and it costs money to run different ones in order to find out the culprit. That is, IF, there was a pathological organism causing it to begin with. Also the health status of the individual needs to be taken into consideration.

    Other causes of diarrhea are medicines, drugs, GI reactions, chemicals, contaminants, food sensitivies. Further compounding this are lack of handwashing facilities and uunknowing cross contamination.

  5. STA
    January 29, 2010

    what needs to be done is an assessment of things person coming down with gastroenteritis have eaten or done in common.The areas where the concentration of the illness is as well as how close these areas are to each other.Then a comprehensive picture of the outbreak could be seen and then thing are ruled out.
    From the information i am seeing here water was totally ruled out as the source,but what if the microbes they look for such as fecal coliform, total coliform,or E.coli are not what is causing the outbreak.There are a lot of other possible sources of gastroenteritis which should be looked into before ruling out one thing or the other.
    if is a food-borne pathogen samples from food eaten in common should be taken and microbiological analysis performed.
    Water the samples should be tested for protozoa, bacteria, and other such microbes and since water is a common commodity it should be check with high accuracy.Also,if the areas where the outbreak are located within the same water catchment area then that says volumes in terms of determining the problem.

    This is just my thoughts on the issue since i am into Food safety.

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