Health Ministry warns consumers about flood damaged crops
The Ministry of Health is offering guidelines to the public to keep safe during the rainy season and minimise the effects of flooding and other related issues.
With regard to flooding, the Ministry is warning consumers against eating crops that have been damaged by flood waters and says it is taking steps to ensure that farmers do not offer these goods for sale.
Speaking at a conference on Friday, Acting Chief Public Health Inspector Neil Rampersad said flood waters may contain harmful bacteria that could lead to an outbreak of diseases such as hepatitis A and leptospirosis.
He noted that people are usually seen wading through flood waters and said this was a very dangerous practice.
"There is a real risk of disease spreading because of the contaminated water. We are very much concerned about the leafy vegetables, because if flood waters should get into these vegetables and it is offered for sale, the risk is very great," he said.
He however said that vegetables should be thoroughly washed and cleaned with a few drops of bleach of persons choose to consume them anyway.
Rampersad said the Ministry's health inspectors are monitoring markets and roadside vendors to ensure that flood damaged produce is not being sold to consumers and can seize good if they have reason to believe they are contaminated.
He said damaged tinned foods as well as meats that have defrosted during power outages are also unsafe to consume.
Rampersad also advised that contaminated water should not be used for drinking but said untreated water can be boiled or treated with a few drops of bleach to be made safe to drink.
Another major problem arising from flooding is the breeding of mosquitoes, according to Dr Naresh Nandram, Acting Registrar of the Insect Vector Control Division.
Nandram said for the year thus far there have been 40 suspected cases of the Zika virus. However, there has only been one confirmed case.
There have been 284 probable cases of dengue fever and 7 suspected cases of Chikungunya.
He said the public must take steps to prevent mosquito breeding and protect themselves from mosquito bites.