Barbados health authorities have blamed a recent outbreak of gastroenteritis on the south coast to “a localized food-borne disease outbreak at a specific food business” even as the United States Embassy issued a statement indicating that recent tests at its residences “revealed bacteria at elevated levels in the tap water.”
Localized food-borne disease
The Ministry of Health said it had conducted an epidemiological investigation into the matter and concluded the outbreak was “a localized food-borne disease outbreak at a specific food business” and it was continuing to focus its resources on the south coast as it sought to contain any threat to public health as a result of the sewage spills in the area.
The Ministry of Health reported that no new cases of gastroenteritis had been reported since January 3, this year and that following the epidemiological investigation, 34 cases met the criteria for the gastroenteritis outbreak investigation.
Addressing sewage spill
The authorities say they have been dealing with the sewage spill that has severely affected the island’s south coast. Restaurants and other food outlets impacted by the more than yearlong sewage crisis, are being told they should not feel pressured to shut down, as the temporary fixes implemented by the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) seem to be holding for the time being.
Earlier this month, BWA Rapid Response and Communications Manager Joyann Haigh said there had been no effluent on the streets for several days and that businesses could take solace in the fact that there was progress in tackling the problem.
“We have put the station in Bay Street online, we also took some customers offline and this is taking some of the load off the south coast sewage station and placing onto the Bridgetown sewage plant,” Haigh told Barbados TODAY publication.
US embassy cautions its staffers
In its statement, the US Embassy said as a precautionary measure, it is recommending to its staff to “boil their drinking water or use bottled water” and that it would continue to monitor the situation.
It said staff members should follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) directions on how to stay healthy and safe, “which include guidance on safe drinking and eating.”