The Ministry of Public Health is closely monitoring the community of Baramita in Guyana, following an outbreak of gastroenteritis that has led to one death.
The Government Information Service (GINA) on Friday reported that 60 others have also been stricken by the illness in the community where residents are reportedly reluctant to use treated water or take the full course of medication.
According Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, the situation is under control but at the same time the issue is of great concern to the Ministry, and a team of officials will be deployed to the area, to educate the residents about the illness and measures they can take to avoid it.
Norton also pointed to challenges in terms of getting into some of the satellite villages that are only accessible by All Terrain vehicles.
“We do have it under control, we have enough medication there…the other situation is we find that the population is not cooperating. They don’t want to use the bleach in the water or the tablets that we’re using in the water because they said, it tastes bad. Secondly, they’re not carrying through with the medications we’re giving them to use and they are not all attending the clinics, even though the clinics are there, available for them. So we’re running into some difficulties there. But the situation has improved from what it was from the beginning.”
Baramita, which has a population of about 3,000 persons at 20 satellite villages, has one Health Center, which is manned by a Community Health worker, a medic and a doctor.
The occurrence of gastro-enteritis is seasonal, with the highest incidence occurring during December to March.
In 2013, there was an outbreak in the North West District area, where a total of 529 residents from Port Kaituma and surrounding communities were infected, most of whom were children. There were three reported deaths.
Prior to that, there was an outbreak in 2009 and six residents died.
Gastroenteritis is an infection of the digestive system with symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, cramping, nausea and headache.