MoH investigating source of rumors of unsafe drinking water

Dr. Johnson described the rumors as unfortunate and baseless
Dr. Johnson described the rumors as unfortunate and baseless

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David Johnson, has said the Ministry of Health is investigating rumors of unsafe drinking water in Dominica and has assured Dominicans that the island’s drinking water is safe.

It has been going around on social media that two people came to Dominica, caught the flu and upon return to their country had to be flown out the United States where further treatment and one subsequently died. It was further said that research revealed that they had consumed water on the island and the water is contaminated.

But speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Dr. Johnson described the rumors as unfortunate and baseless.

“The Ministry of Health obviously wishes to allay any doubt that general public might have at this present at the moment in relation to death due to drinking water in Dominica,” he said. “It is unfortunate that these baseless and misinformation of the water contamination has caused unnecessary alarm in the general public.”

He said the Environmental Health Department in the Ministry of Health has a legal responsibility to monitor the quality of drinking and recreational water for both visitors and residents alike and he explained how this is done.

“So we do such things as annual sanitary assessment of all the catchments and intakes of water in Dominica,” he stated. “We do weekly field test for chlorine residue in selected systems and we also do what is referred to as a fortnightly bacteriological analysis of samples for each water system.”

He said specimen and samples are taken and they are referred to other public health labs including the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency for further analysis.

“And to date there is no concern, like the water company indicated, the Ministry of Health has absolutely no concerns as it relates to the quality of our drinking water at this time,” he said, referring to a release from water company DOWASCO, concerning the safety of drinking water.

Dr. Johnson stated that Dominica, like the rest of the region, has a responsibility to report anything that is a public health event of international concern to the World Health Organization (WHO) under the International Health Regulation 2005 and the source of the rumor is being investigated.

“And in fact I could say this to you, one of the things that we have done is to actively investigate the source of that rumor,” he revealed. “In fact to the extent where we have contacted our counterparts in that island under the International Health Regulation to actually confirm what that individual died because if this individual died of any disease that supposed to cause any international concern, that country has to report it to the WHO,” he noted.

He stated that anyone who died anywhere in the word of any disease of international concern, the matter is reported.

“So if any individual came to Dominica, contacted any suspected disease and they went back to their country and they died, that country has to investigate it and report it to WHO and Dominica would get a report of that and we will know,” Dr. Johnson stated. “The MoH is very concerned that that rumor is going on around and has begun activecollaborationn with WHO to find out exactly what has gone on.”

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  1. Franklyn Cuffy
    November 26, 2016

    The time is ripe for the Communities, in Dominica, where there are RIVERS to ADOPT those Rivers and monitor them regularly for the quality & safety of the Water. For the first time 20 groups in Trinidad & Tobago joined in observing “World Rivers Day”, with resounding results.
    Plans are already on their way for World Rivers Day 2017, come the last Sunday of November.
    We in Dominica can do much more to secure the 365 Rivers we boast about as part of the blessings of our Nature Isle, the Commonwealth of Dominica.

    River Enthusiast

  2. Eh
    November 25, 2016

    Is probably from all this sueuss water people drinking. It’s untreated and has all types of things in there. Suess water now is not what it was before.

  3. kalaloo
    November 24, 2016

    Has the water in Salisbury been tested in last year? I had a talk with a key dude in the ministry…and he had concerns.
    Hope we can dig ourselves outa this pit.

  4. indira Ghandi
    November 24, 2016

    Dominica has become a BIG JOKE

  5. The Truth Be Told
    November 24, 2016

    Dominicans drink the water and do not get sick from it. Many people visited D/ca and they did not get sick.
    It would be interesting to know if the person who died had a medical problem. When people catch colds/virus it could be their immune system was deficient.
    When they catch a cold/virus they must know how to treat it so that it dissipates quickly.
    The cold/virus surfaced after all the fetes Dominica had. It is my feeling that they were imported, unknowingly into Dominica.
    This is the time of year for colds. The weather is not as hot as it were earlier in the year.

  6. The Truth Be Told
    November 24, 2016

    I would not question that. People have ways of testing their own water. Why not the one who is responsible for testing it for all Dominicans?

  7. Lovely Dominica
    November 24, 2016

    I could never believe this rumor. Dr. Johnson is right. The water in Dominica is of impeccable quality and this is something to be very proud of. The people at dowasco and environmental health are doing a great job protecting our water resources and ensuring that the drinking water quality meets the necessary guideline standards. I think as Dominicans, we need to protect the good we have in our country and therefore, if you know the person or people spreading such a rumor, please report this to the authorities as a rumor like this can have devastating effects on our country.

  8. Ideal
    November 24, 2016

    Dr. Johnson can you please explain all the sudden deaths of seemingly young and healthy people on our island recently? Maybe there is really something in the water. Please make sure the test is done thoroughly, if needs be send it overseas to a better facility for testing. This rumour is not doing Dominica any good. My dear people PLEASE BOIL YOUR DRINKING WATER.

  9. Patois Mularky
    November 24, 2016

    The great culling for useless eaters continues :)

    Happy New Year Dominica!

  10. DA girl
    November 24, 2016

    Shame on those who maliciously started this rumor.

  11. Vaffanculo_PM
    November 24, 2016

    Dr. Johnson described the rumors as unfortunate and baseless. Lead by example, drink the safe tap water to prove it was a rumor.

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