Health Issues In Dominica

Several parts of Dominica were devastated by the storm.

Leptospirosis, ‘Gastro’ Cases Reported.

Several parts of Dominica were devastated by the storm.
Several parts of Dominica were devastated by the storm.

ROSEAU, Dominica: Some serious health concerns including gastroenteritis and leptospirosis have arisen in Dominica in the wake of the Tropical Storm Erika which battered the island three weeks ago.

There are suspected cases of Leptospirosis in the Roseau Health district and Chief Environmental Health Officer Anthony Scotland said it is cause for concern.

Leptospirosis is a serious preventable bacterial disease most often transmitted to humans who are exposed to the infected urine of rats, dogs and other mammals.

According to Scotland, conditions are conducive for breeding and transmission of deadly diseases following the passage of the storm, which left havoc in its wake.

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“We are concerned at Environmental Health because we have an environmental health situation where there are more mosquito breeding in the environment and also you have conditions ideal for the transmission of leptospirosis,” he said .

“We have three suspected cases of leptospirosis and the officers are basically out there investigating the cases and to see how we can put some control measures in place to prevent the spread of that disease,” Scotland stated.

Symptoms of the disease include fever, chills, sudden headaches, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, muscle pain particularly in the muscles in the calves and lower back.

Meanwhile, an eight-member team of trauma specialists from the Massy Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago has ended a visit here helping persons affected by Tropical Storm Erika which devastated the island on August 27. .

Team leader, Wendell de Leon said since their arrival, his team had been all over the island visiting affected areas.

“We have been to a number of places besides the shelters. We have had community groups and determined the extent of the trauma and have been able to help the people articulate the pain and hurt,” he said.

The team, which left Wednesday, also collaborated with the local mental health team.

De Leon said the team of highly-trained specialists were mainly focused on helping to deal with displacement.

“A lot of stuff is happening. People are hearing that school is reopening and there is a sense of panic and anxiety. That trauma can take a while [to dissipate]; they need a lot of support at the individual and macro levels,” he said.

Leon has asked that nationals remain sensitive to the plight of their fellow man during this time.

Meanwhile, quite a few cases of the water-borne disease, gastroenteritis also known as the stomach flu, have been reported as well.

The ministry of Health said that there was now a total of 153 confirmed cases of the disease since August 28. Erika struck Dominica on August 27.

“The most affected areas are Portsmouth, St. Joseph and Roseau Health Districts,” the MoH said in a release. “As a result the Ministry has heightened its Public Health Response including its Public Education Campaign which has been ongoing pre-Erika. All Health Districts have stepped up surveillance and management of the disease.”

Gastroenteritis, also known as the stomach flu, is a condition that causes irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It is caused by eating or drinking food or water which is contaminated by a bacteria or virus.

The Ministry 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.

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