No reported outbreak of diseases, casualties due to flooding- CDC Head

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Though floodwaters have impacted all administrative regions, with Regions Two, Five, Six, Seven and 10 among the harder-hit regions, Director-General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig, has reported that there has been no outbreak of flood-related diseases.

During a press conference on Friday, the CDC Head said that the monitoring of water-borne disease has been continuously conducted by the Ministry of Health. He said also that the ministry has dispatched teams into the regions to assess and respond to the situation.

“Except for isolated cases of skin rashes, there is no outbreak of flood-related illnesses, according to assessments done by the Ministry of Health,” he assured members of the media.

Even so, he also stated that the CDC will continue to monitor the flood situation and provide food and sanitation hampers to residents, as needed.

During a recent COVID-19 update, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, said that the local health authorities have been on alert for water-borne diseases and have mobilised resources such as bleach to purify water and skin ointments and creams to treat rashes.

Then, the Health Minister also said, “I know that when people talk about flood in Guyana that has become associated with leptospirosis but, we haven’t seen any cases of leptospirosis.”

Leptospirosis, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is an infectious disease caused by bacteria that are transmitted directly or indirectly from animals to humans.

A 2005 report from the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) related that leptospirosis became a health concern in Guyana during the catastrophic 2005 flood. Then, the outbreak is usually caused by exposure to water contaminated with the urine of infected animals.

On February 6, 2005, an article in the Guyana Chronicle Newspaper related that the then Health Minister, who is now an advisor to the Ministry of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, said that leptospirosis was expected with the flooding since this is caused by exposure to contaminated water.

That article also related that the Health Ministry was tracking 19 deaths as being “flood-related”. It was reported that four of those deaths were caused by drowning while the other 15 were likely caused by: acute gastroenteritis/ dehydration, haemoptysis and leptospirosis.

Though that was the case in 2005, fortunately, the nationwide flooding this year has not, reportedly, caused any deaths so far.

In fact, when asked if there have been any flood-related casualties, during the press conference on Friday, the CDC Head answered: “We have not received any reports of casualties that were directly related to flooding, thus far.”

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