BVI News

Gastro threat heightened

Local health authorities said they are concerned about the possibility of persons contracting gastroenteritis; this after  category 5 hurricanes Irma and Maria affected the territory last month.

Viral gastroenteritis is a common infection of the stomach and intestines that results in vomiting and diarrhoea.

“We are really concerned about gastroenteritis,” declared Environmental Health Officer Tianna Frazer, who yesterday appealed for residents to safeguard their health and protect themselves from food and waterborne illnesses by practicing good personal hygiene.

She also explained that the lack of running water and proper food storage capacity is increasing the risk of gastroenteritis.

“Persons are also cooking with contaminated cistern water which can also pose a problem,” Frazer further said. “We want to encourage persons – especially those who are working with food – to maintain proper hand-washing hygiene; and to ensure that food is being prepared with clean potable water.”

Frazer also explained that viral gastroenteritis is highly infectious, and is spread by the vomit or faeces of an infected person through person-to-person contact, such as shaking hands with someone who has the virus on their hands, and contaminated objects as well as food or drink.

“As schools and day-care centres across the territory continue to re-open, all schools and school administrators are encouraged to be hygiene conscious,” Frazer said.

She, in a release issued by the Government Information Service, further advised, “Toys and surfaces should be disinfected often; and feeding/eating utensils, wash rags, towels and blankets should not be shared from one child to another.”

Frazer said persons should also promptly disinfect contaminated surfaces with household chlorine bleach-based cleaners. They should promptly wash soiled articles of clothing.

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