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Chance of cholera outbreak very slight – Premier

By Davion Smith, BVI News Journalist

Days after billionaire Sir Richard Branson expressed concern about possible disease outbreaks such as cholera in the British Virgin Islands, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said he is not overly concerned.

Cholera is usually caused when persons consume food or water contaminated with the bacterium, Vibrio cholerae. That bacterium can be found in untreated sewage.

“We do have a functioning sewage system so the chances of diseases like cholera spreading is very, very slight,” Dr Smith said during a press conference this week.

“There are some issues which are being worked on so once that is functioning, there will be no sewage on the street; which is very important,” the Premier added.

Branson had raised concern about potential disease outbreaks after Hurricane Irma rocked the territory this month. Another Category 5 hurricane, Maria, also passed near the BVI yesterday.

The billionaire had also mentioned the possibility of outbreaks in mosquito-bourne diseases. However, Premier Smith said local health authorities are working to prevent such issues.

“We do have a process where people from the Ministry of Health will go around and do fogging where necessary and we are urging all members of the community to make sure that there is no collection of water around their homes,” Dr Smith said.

“If the community were to cooperate and do that, I think we should [do] fairly well.”

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