Over 200 Manganese workers being assessed by health officials

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Ministry of Public Health officials are assessing over 200 workers attached to the Guyana Manganese Inc. (GMI) in Mathews Ridge, Region One following the death of one person and the hospitalisation of a dozen others over the past couple of days.

“We’re working out of the community centre presently, as we assess the other employees because we’re talking about over 200 persons in the mining camp that will be assessed,” Minister Volda Lawrence told reporters Tuesday.

On Monday, five persons were rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital from the mining site, joining seven others who were taken to the institution on Saturday, following the death of another.

The men experienced symptoms including pain, fever, headache and respiratory distress.

After several tests, two persons were on Monday diagnosed with Leptospirosis and are said to be in a critical stage.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects animals and can be transferred to humans who come in contact with the animals’ urine.

The Ministry found that the affected patients had previously worked to clean a tunnel of bat droppings and other items.

“We are just dealing with persons who went into a particular tunnel. That is what we have been able to zero in on, those are the persons that have been affected, no one in any of the villages has reported to any of our medical facilities at this point with any of those illnesses,” Lawrence told the media.

Thus far there has been no evidence of person to person transmission of infection.

Further tests are being conducted locally and samples will be sent overseas to rule out other possible infections.

The Ministry said health officials have ruled out Swine Flu (H1N1), Zika, Chikungunya, Dengue and Influenza A and B as possible causes of the recent spate of illnesses and death in Mathews Ridge.

In the meantime, the Ministry has instructed the Manganese mining company to halt further operations and commenced assessment of over 200 other workers who are attached to the Manganese Company.

Officials were slated to sanitize the Mathews Ridge Hospital on Tuesday to continue delivering health care to the community in Region One.

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