Categorized | Featured, National News

Conch Poisoning Outbreak

Dr. Duane Sands (2)

The Ministry of Health confirmed yesterday that four cases of Vibrio Parahaemolyticus commonly known  as conch poisoning within the last 72-96 hours.

Health officials says these four persons contracted this disease  after eating from Stalls at Potter’s Cay dock.

The Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands in a press conference yesterday said the Ministry is monitoring these instances and in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, and  is taking the necessary steps to protect the health of those affected and through targeted investigations  to prevent any further cases. 

Dr. Sands also added that in addition to the recent instances,  there may have been more persons effected by the poisoning.  

He said, “bear  in mind that gastro  problems  can occur for a number of reasons and so to ascribe a case  would require confirmatory testing. Based on historical information,  we can say there has been four confirmed cases and possibly as many as  six  more awaiting laboratory confirmation. Based on that information we feel that this is significant enough  event the public ought to be informed and educated on.”  

Dr. Sands  said  that the poisonous bacteria aren’t in the conch meat itself,  but lives and thrives in salt water. As a result, the Minister wishes to warn all conch lovers.

“The Ministry is advising that raw conch be cooked or if it is eaten raw,  then it should be thoroughly washed in clean fresh water rather than sea water and this will remove the bacteria from the conch.  This is keeping with our stated government policy requiring conch handling since the 1990s,” Dr. Sands said.

The Minister  also advises  that persons ask their conch salad vendors if the conch prepared has been washed with fresh water instead of salt water before eating.

When ingested, vibrio bacteria can cause watery diarrhea, often accompanied by abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills.

Dr. Sands added that usually these symptoms occur within 24 hours of ingestion and last about three days. 

Severe illness is rare and typically occurs in the people with a weakened immune system. 

Persons who experience symptoms are asked to visit their nearest community health clinic.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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