The Ministry of Health reminds the public to protect themselves against Flood Related Diseases
Port-of-Spain, July 30th, 2021: The Ministry of Health urges members of the public to take the necessary steps to avoid the health risks associated with flooding. Flood waters may carry silt, raw sewage and bacteria that can contaminate food and water.
The risk of infectious disease such as Leptospirosis and Gastroenteritis are especially high in flood situations, and after heavy seasonal rains.
Leptospirosis is spread by bacteria and, once diagnosed early, it can be treated. It is spread through the urine of infected animals (usually rodents, dogs, farm animals and horses). Animals and humans become infected by direct contact, by drinking or inhaling infected urine, or water contaminated by urine.
Leptospirosis can cause a wide range of symptoms, including:
Many of these symptoms can be mistaken for other diseases.
General Guidelines for Avoiding Post-flood Diseases:
- Only drink water that is confirmed to be safe
- Inspect food carefully to determine if it may have come into contact with flood water. Dispose of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and meat that may have come into contact with flood waters.
- Discard open containers, packages and food contained in bags, paper, cloth, fibre or cardboard boxes e.g. flour, cereal and rice (even if the packages were sealed).
- Canned food items may be safe for consumption but persons are advised to remove labels and disinfect cans thoroughly with a bleach solution before opening.
- Avoid contact with potentially contaminated water (e.g. streams, rivers and ponds) and other flooded areas especially if you have cuts or abrasions of the skin.
- If working in areas that may be prone to contamination, wear protective clothing such as gloves, boots, aprons, eye protection.
- Ensure proper handwashing is carried out after coming into contact with flood waters or flood contaminated items.
For more information on proper hand washing techniques, water safety and using bleach for cleaning and sanitising after a flood, please visit the Ministry of Health’s website via www.health.gov.tt .
If you believe that you may have symptoms related to the above diseases, please visit your nearest health centre or your doctor immediately.