Ministry of Health responds to risks of flood-related diseases including Leptospirosis

Photo credit: Centre for Disease Control (CDC)

November 19, 2017: The Ministry of Health continues to urge citizens to partner with the Ministry and other Public Sector agencies to reduce the spread of diseases associated with flooding. Public health interventions must be supported by individual precautionary measures to effectively reduce the incidences of water and food borne diseases. Public participation is especially critical during this season of high levels of rainfall and the resulting increased flooding.

In response to the significant attention that has been placed on Leptospirosis, in particular, in the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago, newspaper editorials, and in the public domain in general, the Ministry of Health wishes to place the following facts concerning Leptospirosis in the public domain.

Public Health Interventions

Public health interventions fall under the responsibility of County Medical Officers of Health who coordinate the local response with the Chief Medical Officer and who work with the teams at the Public Health Inspectorate and the Insect Vector Control Division of the Ministry and the relevant Regional Corporations.

The following activities were undertaken by the staff of the Ministry of Health and the relevant Regional Corporations and are ongoing:

  • The staff of the Regional Corporation initiated the intervention with the washing down of hard surfaces and rodent baiting in the affected areas

  • Public Health interventions in affected areas:

o   Post flooding management by the application of bactericidal sprayto hard surfaces around homes and necessary adulticiding (chemical treatment for adult mosquitoes) and larval treatment for mosquitoes.

o   Visits to food premises to guarantee that contaminated foods, especially meat, are not offered for sale to the public and are disposed of to avoid re-entry into the market.

o   Monitoring food preparation and processing facilities to ensure that contaminated raw materials are not used.

o   Food safety surveillance activities in markets and farms, including crop destruction.

o   Monitoring and reporting on overflowing privies, such as septic tank systems and pit latrines, to relevant authorities for quick resolution

o   Monitoring and advising on handling and disposal of animal and rodent carcasses.

Public Education Activities (ongoing)

  • Public Service Announcements were sent to all media houses in June and in November 2017 to address the following: Water Safety, Food Safety, Protection from flood-related diseases, Precautions Against Leptospirosis
  • Press conference on July 21st, 2017. Topic - ‘Public Health Guidelines for the Rainy Season’. The following issues were addressed. Water Safety, Food Safety and Protection from Flood-related diseases.
  • Subject matter experts educated the general public via television and radio interviews on the following topics : Water Safety, Food Safety and Protection from Mosquito-borne diseases, Leptospirosis

o   TV and Radio Stations : (CNC3 Morning Brew, TV6 Morning Edition, CNMG News, 107.7 FM , Radio 90.5, Heartbeat 103.5FM , Hott 93.5 FM, Taj 92.3 FM, Heartbeat 103.5, Power 102 FM, Isaac 98.1 FM, Radio Jaagriti).

o   Subject matter experts included: Chief Medical Officer, Principal Medical Officer ( Environmental Health), Senior Medical Officer, Chief Public Health Inspector, Registrar – Insect Vector Control Division, Chief Technical Coordinator – Disaster Preparedness

  • Social media and email campaigns were activated. (Water Safety, Food Safety, Protection from Mosquito-borne diseases, Hand washing, Leptospirosis)
  • Flyers/brochures on related topics were distributed in affected areas.

In addition, the Minister of Health, the Honorable Terrence Deyalsingh, also communicated with various media houses and highlighted the dangers of water-borne diseases. 

The Clinical Response

As per established clinical protocols, all patients presenting with signs of Leptospirosis are immediately treated both supportively and with the recommended antibiotics. The Ministry of Health wishes to confirm that all clinical protocols were followed.

Public health intervention and education activities are ongoing and the Ministry of Health continues to use multiple channels and various approaches to serve and communicate with the public. The Ministry reminds citizens of the various public health services offered, and of the important role they play in safeguarding themselves against Leptospirosis and other flood-related diseases.

The Ministry of Health will continue to actively engage all stakeholders to provide effective health care and ensure the well-being of the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

 

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For more information contact:

Corporate Communications Unit
Ministry of Health
Park Plaza Building
Cor. Park & St. Vincent Streets
Port of Spain
Tel:1-868-623-8492; 1-868-625-7979

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