Health officials warn about exposure to flooded water

Leptospirosis bacteria

by Linda Straker

  • Ministry of Health warns about exposure to flooded water
  • Grenada recorded 7 cases of leptospirosis for 2018
  • Persons can get leptospirosis by swimming in fresh unchlorinated water contaminated with animal urine

Dr Shawn Charles, Epidemiologist in the Ministry of Health, wants people to be extremely cautious about exposing themselves to flooded water, which is not only contaminated with debris like broken bottles and plastics but pathogens that can cause life-threatening conditions.

“Flood water from that level of rainfall we received from that tropical wave is normally contaminated with all kinds of things and it’s not wise for anyone to expose themselves to it. There is all kind of contaminants that can impact differently, so swimming, running and doing other things in that type of contaminated water should be avoided,” he said.

The Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) Met Office said that more 152.8 millimetres or 6 inches of rain were recorded in the Point Salines area. As a result of the rain, there were floods throughout Grenada with landslides, and roads turning in rivers. Some persons were recorded on video kayaking, swimming and just having fun in the flood waters.

“One of the life-threatening contaminants in flood water is droplets and urine from rats, and that is the main transmitter for leptospirosis, and that disease can cause death. So, it’s not advisable for a person to just go about exposing themselves to flooded water. It is just not wise, it can result in sickness,” he added.

“People need to be very cautious, personal contact with flooded water should be avoided,” he said.

Grenada recorded 7 cases of leptospirosis for 2018.

Leptospirosis is spread mainly by contact with water or soil contaminated by the urine of infected animals such as rats. Persons can get the disease by swimming or wading in fresh unchlorinated water contaminated with animal urine or by coming into contact with wet soil or plants contaminated with animal urine.

It can cause a wide range of symptoms, including but not limited to: high fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, vomiting and abdominal pain. It is sometimes mistaken for dengue fever, and if not treated in its very early stage, it can result in death.

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