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Island survey to investigate cases of diarrhoea

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Homes across Bermuda will answer some delicate questions this month, as the Department of Health joins a Caribbean-wide survey of food and waterborne disease.

The study will investigate acute diarrhoea caused by pathogens carried in water and food.

Health Minister Zane DeSilva launched the Bermuda Burden of Illness study alongside Lisa Indar, project manager from the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre. The group is interested in Bermuda’s disease patterns as a comparison against our distant southern neighbours.

“It’s called gastroenteritis,” Mr DeSilva said, of the catch-all term for symptoms that include fever and stomach ache, as well as diarrhoea.

This month is generally a peak season for the illness.

An anonymous telephone survey of 600 Bermuda residents has already begun and another survey, involving an additional 600 residents, will be conducted during February, recognised as the ‘low season’.

Households randomly selected for this month’s survey were notified by mail to expect a phone call from Department of Health interviewers.

A lab survey will be ongoing, with residents urged to provide their physicians with samples to be studied.

Dr Indar acknowledged that most cases go unreported, but worldwide the illnesses are a widespread killer.

Food-borne diseases include salmonella and E coli. Bermuda’s unique system of rooftop water collection will also add diversity to the study, which will investigate eight other islands in the Caribbean.

The results of the study should be available by December 2012.

Dr Lisa Indar from the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre speaks on food and waterborne disease at the offices of Environmental Health.
Minister of Health Zane DeSilva speaks on a food and waterborne diseases study to commence soon in Bermuda.

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Published November 07, 2011 at 8:12 am (Updated November 07, 2011 at 8:11 am)

Island survey to investigate cases of diarrhoea

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