Gastro outbreak following Tropical Storm Erika
Dominica health authorities are reporting an increase in cases of gastroenteritis following the passage of Tropical Storm Erika late last month that killed more than 30 people.
The Ministry of Health said that a total of 153 confirmed cases of the disease had been recorded since the storm struck the island on August 27.
“The most affected areas are Portsmouth, St. Joseph and Roseau Health Districts,” the ministry said in a statement, adding “as a result the Ministry has heightened its Public Health Response including its Public Education Campaign which has been ongoing pre-Erika. All Health Districts have stepped up surveillance and management of the disease”.
Gastroenteritis, also known as the stomach flu, is a condition that causes irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It is caused by eating or drinking food or water which is contaminated by a bacteria or virus.
It is also caused by drinking of contaminated water, lack of or improper hand washing, especially after using the toilet or handling of dirty diapers cause.
The storm caused damages to roads and other infrastructure estimated at EC$600 million (One EC dollar =US$0.37 cents) and the Ministry of Health said it was urging people to follow several guidelines, including boiling or chlorinating water from rivers, streams and springs before drinking.
The Ministry of Health said that while gastroenteritis is preventable and can be easily treated, people should seek medical care if symptoms continue or gets worse.
“You should take a small amount of stool in a clean wide screw cap container to your health centre or doctor. The Ministry would like the public to remain alert and protect themselves from getting gastroenteritis. Remember your health is your responsibility. Protect yourself,” the Ministry of Health added.
More schools to reopen Monday
The Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development has made continuous progress in preparing schools, affected by Tropical Storm Erika, for reopening.
While some schools remain closed due to damage sustained and lack of water, I am pleased to announce that the following schools will reopen on Monday, September 21, 2015.
1. Jones Beaupierre Primary School
2. Woodfordhill Primary School
3. Calibishie Primary School
4. North East Comprehensive School
5. Campbell Primary School
6. Pichelin Primary School
7. Salisbury Primary School.
The following schools will remain closed until further notice
1. Coulibistrie Primary School
2. Convent Preparatory
3. Massacre Primary School
4. Roseau Primary School
5. Colihaut Primary School
6. Dublanc Primary School
7. Wesley Primary School
8. Petite Savanne Primary School
9. Berean Christian Academy
All Students from Petite Savanne attending the Pierre Charles Secondary School are informed that a bus system is in place and transportation will be provided. Students should be at the Petite Savanne Bus stop in Roseau at 6: 45 a.m. for pick up.
The reopening of school for 1st to 3rd formers of the Dominica Grammar School has been further deferred as the school continues to serve as a shelter.
I take this opportunity to encourage members of the public be tolerant and courteous to our residents at the various centers since they have suffered tremendous personal loss, and will require the support of the general public.
We encourage parents of students who have to remain at home in the interim, to make use of the textbooks and other school materials already purchased, to work with their children within the home setting.
I wish to commend the effort of the staff of the Ministry of Education and in particular principals and teachers at our schools for their hard work and dedication during this challenging time. However, it is incumbent on all to continue in that same spirit in the rebuilding process of our beloved country.
The Ministry of Education will continue to work with DOWASCO and other partners to return all our schools to normalcy within the shortest possible time.