Thu | Jun 29, 2017

Health ministry downplays cholera fears

Published:Sunday | June 18, 2017 | 6:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris
De La Haye

Jamaicans will have to wait until Tuesday to know if the country is seeing its first cholera case in more than 100 years.

A stool sample from a patient suspected of having vibrio cholerae has been sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad for testing.

According to the country's chief medical officer, Dr Winston De La Haye, blood samples taken from the patient and tested at the public health lab locally show that he has a form of Vibrio cholerae which is not as dangerous as the cholera responsible for the deaths of thousands in Haiti since 2010.

"At this time, there is no cause for alarm," De La Haye told The Sunday Gleaner, before declaring that, "It is not the one responsible for multiple deaths in patients and severe suffering."

 

Patient quarantined

 

The Ministry of Health has been seeking to allay fears that cholera might have resurfaced in Jamaica after the patient displayed symptoms of the dreaded disease at a public hospital recently.

The patient has since been quarantined and is said to be receiving appropriate medical treatment.

According a release from the health ministry, the patient was readmitted to hospital on June 9 after a recent bowel surgery with fever.

"Routine investigations identified a bacteria in his blood. Preliminary investigations revealed that the bacteria is a form of Vibrio cholerae, and based on the presentation of this illness, it is not consistent with the severe diarrhoeal illness known as cholera," the ministry said.

The patient has no travel history, and De La Haye said all the persons he has come in contact with are being monitored.

nadine.wilson@gleanerjm.com