Quite a few cases of the water-borne disease, gastroenteritis also known as the stomach flu, have been reported following the passage of Tropical Storm Erika, health officials said.
They said they have been working tirelessly to educate the public on ways to treat drinking water because the scarcity of pipe borne water in some communities could give rise to diseases such as gastroenteritis but cases are being reported.
“We have a few cases of gastroenteritis within certain zones of Dominica and that is the reason why we are so vigilant in ensuring that it do not escalate, that we do not have more cases than we can really control,” Nurse from the Health Promotion Unit, Adora Toussaint noted.
She remarked because of the cases, it is important that people “take heed to the information that is given on radio as well as information given as we move around, as we send our leaflets” on the use of water after the storm.
“It’s not just giving information but to take in the information and acting on the information,” she noted.
Toussaint said water must be treated by either “boiling it or by using bleach.”
“Your health is your responsibility,” she warned. “We are happy to be able to serve you, but would be much happier if you would take the information given and act on it.”
Director of Primary Health Care Services, Dr Laura Esprit, had earlier advised that until further notice, all drinking water should be boiled or treated using water purification tablets.
The Environmental Health Arm of the Ministry of Health is now distributing these tablets.
She pointed out that one tablet can be added to one litre of water, while four tablets should be added to a gallon.
“Essentially what you do is you put four tablets into the container, leave it to stand for 30 minutes and then it is ready to drink,” Dr. Esprit stated.
Symptoms of gastroenteritis include diarrhea and vomiting. You might also have stomach pain, cramping, fever, nausea, and a headache.