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Aug 5, 2016

Potential Health Hazards Post Hurricane Earl

The entire country of Belize is still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Earl. The damage country wide is minor for some and major for others. But there are few lingering threats that are to come post Earl that we all need to keep in mind. Those are the health hazards that come post storm. Earlier today News Five spoke to Director of Health Services of the Ministry of Health, Doctor Marvin Manzanero to find out about these threats.

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Flood waters are unsafe. We should all know this by now; yet, after every storm or torrential downpour, health professionals are always there to remind us. After every storm or flooding incident, there are specific illnesses they have come to expect to see.

 

Marvin Manzanero

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services

“What we normally brace ourselves for the next couple of weeks. The next couple of days rather is infectious disease of skin, gastroenteritis, and upper respiratory infections.”

 

Post Earl there are a few health hazards we should all be aware of. The first is to stay out of the water. Flood waters can more than a hundred types of disease-causing bacteria, viruses and parasites. Think about it, when the river, sea or canal and sewer systems combine….It certainly can’t be sanitary.

 

Dr. Marvin Manzanero

“Walking wading or even swimming in flooded waters should be avoided. I saw some people swimming yesterday this should not be happening. That’s the same for flooded rivers as well. Any contaminated ones, particularly the more stagnant ones , the flooded waters that will begin to come downs stream will begin to bring lots of things that we are not aware of.”

 

Interacting with the water is the main cause for skin infections. Ingesting contaminated water is another hazard; which is why the Ministry of Health urges people to take added precautions.

 

Dr. Marvin Manzanero

“We are working and I know BWS sent out an advisory yesterday that the water systems may be potentially contaminated – not necessarily contaminated with chemicals. The turbidity will be a little higher than we would want it in the Cayo district and Belize District. So we are working along with them to know what advisory we are going to put. For now, water that is coming out of your tap need to be boiled and may need to go through measures to ensure it’s clean and safe for drinking purposes. The fact that people didn’t have electricity for forty-eight hours can contribute to gastroenteritis and other illnesses as well.”

 

Lastly, try to clean up any stagnant water in your area; as we are reminded that dengue chikungunya and zika are still very real threats.

 

Dr. Marvin Manzanero

“One week, two weeks from now because of all the stagnant water and unhygienic places we may have we may start to see arise of transmitted infections the ones by mosquitoes that cause dengue, Chikungunya, Zika. So we have to be on the alert for those kinds of situations. In general it’s just having good hygienic practices, proper clean water – sanitized water. Proper sources of food and keep up breeding sites for mosquitoes.”

 

Other health hazards: check your food and groceries. If they came in contact with flood waters, throw them away. Be careful when shopping too, wet or rusty products may have been contaminated too.

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