BVI News

Increased reports of gastroenteritis, residents urged to employ preventative practices

Chief Environmental Officer Lionel Michael demonstrates how to wash hands thoroughly.

Chief Environmental Health Officer Lionel Michael is urging all persons in the British Virgin Islands to use the various preventative methods to minimise their chances of contracting the gastroenteritis (gastro) virus.

This follows increased reports of persons contracting the virus in the territory.

Confirming the reports, Michael said: “I’ve been advised that there has been an increase in cases of gastro,” he told BVI News.

Thorough handwashing important

Michael also listed a number of good health practices persons should pursue to prevent themselves from contracting the virus. He described handwashing as the single most important practice persons should undertake.

“The first thing people want to do in preventing gastro is to engage in thorough and frequent handwashing, especially after using the bathroom, after contact with soil, when handling raw foods and when touching animals and so on, they’re to wash their hands,” Michael stated.

Use safe water

He further said that in addition to washing hands, persons should ensure they are using safe water for all purposes.

“Water in your home; from your cisterns, from your tanks and if your using the government supply, make sure the water is safe. It can be made safe by using household bleach or Clorox, by boiling the water and you can use chlorine tablets. People must not drink water from their cistern tanks without first making it safe,” Michael added.

Good health practices in all environments

Another important measure that he outlined was the need for good health practices in the homes, work place and business environment. This should also include the proper and efficient disposal of waste material.

“Always try to buy food that is hot, up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and hotter, and if the food is cold, it should be 41 degrees Fahrenheit and colder. So safe food is critical and they should also ensure the kitchen environment is clean,” Michael advised.

“Use sanitisers, wash dishes properly, clean and sanitise the surfaces the best way they can, using vinegar, household bleach and hot water and so on,” he added.

What is the gastroenteritis?

Gastro is a condition that causes irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestines.

The Ministry of Health said “is typically caused by a bacteria, virus or parasite in spoiled/contaminated food, unclean water or dirty/unwashed hands. If untreated, gastroenteritis can cause death in young children less than five years old.”


The ministry also listed a number of symptoms associated with the illness such as “diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach upset. The affected person may also have headache, fever, and abdominal cramps (stomachaches). Diarrhea and vomiting can cause dehydration especially in small children.”

Resident who may have any of the listed symptoms are advised to contact their physician to seek medical attention

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  1. BS says:

    The place is FILTHY!! There’s burning garbage with god knows what is in there burning and we are inhaling, sewage running EVERYWHERE, the kids are walking the streets and picking up all this s**t then bringing it home to affect the families. The entire places is a giant f***ing mess and it’s shameful especially as we just passed a $400Mil budget for a tiny place with 30K people. We have no shame and this place will get worst before getting better. We are lucky it’s just gastro and nothing more serious because this place is NASTY AS F***!

    Like 20
    Dislike 5
    • BiProduct says:

      This Gastro is just the adult version of the hand/foot/mouth disease circulating. It all stems from a basic lack of hygiene. Teach people to wash and keep themselves clean. I know it’s the third world but you are surrounded by the first world. Try and copy.

  2. VG Resident says:

    I noticed that so many persons are using obscene language very loosely to make their comments on social media. What has happened to our vocabulary as a people. We should not have to go to the gutter to voice our honest opinion about things that affect us. I think that the media houses should not even print the nasty comments.

    Like 15
    Dislike 5
    • @VG says:

      There is nothing obscene about the truth!

      Like 6
      Dislike 5
      • Really says:

        Wonder why our children …
        Or most have no respect…
        Well some adults need to set examples..

        You could speak the truth.. with out using those filthy words.
        And further more when you used words.. the news media should never post it.

        And you could jump high and low..
        But it’s the truth.

        Like 10
        Dislike 2
        • Observing says:

          Indecent language and vulgar talk seems to be acceptable. I heard a male student using some yesterday and, when I spoke to him about it, he ignored me and held a conversation with one of his other friends. I know that all young people may not behave in this way, but it’s sad to observe such behaviour in our “future leaders.

    • Expletive says:

      You’re right as f***

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