The Ministry of Health continues to respond to the incident which transpired in Coolie Town Roseau last week. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Merlene Fredericks noted, that as of Monday March 19th, there has been no additional severe cases or deaths resulting from the incident. However, over the weekend a number of persons who felt they may have consumed the substance came forward in order to get tested.
According to Dr. Merlene Fredericks – Chief Medical Officer, “throughout the weekend we saw a number of persons who were concerned that they may have been exposed to the substance and we referred approximately 10 persons to the Victoria Hospital for testing and follow up. However, those cases were relatively mild but still out of precaution and given that they indicated that they may have been exposed we referred them to the Victoria Hospital where they could be tested and treated appropriately”.
Dr. Fredericks added that since the last update, someone came forward to provide a sample of the alleged substance which may have been ingested.
“At this point in time we can’t speak to absolutely what this sample is but we can say that it was a clear colorless liquid resembling water or strong rum. The Ministry accepted the sample and passed it on to the relevant authorities for further testing and verification. We would like to remind persons that we are still addressing and investigating this incident, a rather unusual incident in which as we indicated previously four persons have perished as a result of this. We believe that there is a toxin out there and we’re encouraging persons, should anyone come into contact with the substance or have any sample of it either bring it to us so that we can pass it on to the authorities for testing or dispose of it properly. Ensure that you pour it into the ground and that it disappears, do not throw away a container containing the substance, just should someone else pick it up and ingest it”.
The Ministry of Health has been investigating four unusual deaths of adults in the Coolie town area that occurred between Friday 9th and Monday 12thMarch 2018.
It was reported that these patients were presented to the Victoria Hospital at varying times with unusual symptoms, such as sudden onset of blindness, abnormal abdominal pain and in some cases, persons developed rapid unconsciousness and death.