ROSEAU, Dominica (CMC) – Dominica health authorities are reporting an increase in cases of gastroenteritis following the passage of Tropical Storm Erika late last month that killed more than 30 people.
The Ministry of Health said that a total of 153 confirmed cases of the disease had been recorded since the storm struck the island on August 27.
“The most affected areas are Portsmouth, St Joseph and Roseau Health Districts,” the ministry said in a statement, adding “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.
It is also caused by drinking of contaminated water, lack of or improper hand washing, especially after using the toilet or handling of dirty diapers cause.
The storm caused damages to roads and other infrastructure estimated at EC$600 million (One EC dollar =US$0.37 cents) and the Ministry of Health said it was urging people to follow several guidelines, including boiling or chlorinating water from rivers, streams and springs before drinking.
The Ministry of Health said that while gastroenteritis is preventable and can be easily treated, people should seek medical care if symptoms continue or gets worse.
“You should take a small amount of stool in a clean wide screw cap container to your health centre or doctor. The Ministry would like the public to remain alert and protect themselves from getting gastroenteritis. Remember your health is your responsibility. Protect yourself,” the Ministry of Health added.