By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
DEPUTY Chief Medical Officer Dr Delon Brennen said officials are concerned about a possible outbreak of dengue fever or the chikungunya virus because of high volumes of stagnant water throughout certain Family Islands due to floods from Hurricane Joaquin.
However, he explained that in order for there to be an outbreak of either disease, someone infected would have to visit either of the islands, be bitten by a mosquito, which then bites another person and so on.
There are no confirmed cases of dengue or chikungunya in the country at this time, however officials will continue to monitor and treat puddles of water with the necessary chemicals to control the mosquito population in the central and southern islands.
He further urged those in Acklins, San Salvador, Long Island, Crooked Island and Long Cay to avoid drinking or cooking with well or pump water as there are concerns of water table contamination.
He said if bottled water cannot be used, residents should resort to either boiling water or adding tiny amounts of bleach to eradicate any contamination.
“As far as we know, there haven’t been any disease issues thus far,” Dr Brennen said. “You would have to have patients who have either virus who go there and get bitten.
“However, we know if not treated properly there will be an increase of mosquitoes. So Environmental Health is now doing the treatments.
“But we are just as concerned as those people living on the islands right now.”
He also urged people using generators to ensure they are in well-ventilated areas to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Yesterday in a statement, the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) said it was taking emergency steps to ensure that potable water supply is made easily available at all of its facilities in the affected islands to meet residents’ personal and family needs.
In San Salvador, the WSC shipped a large emergency generator to power its desalination plant in Cockburn Town and smaller generators and well field pumps to reactivate the Well field Water Supply System as a temporary measure.
Additionally, two technicians were dispatched to complete the connection of the emergency generator to the desalination plant. If this is successful, the desalination plant was expected to be reactivated by yesterday evening with initial water supply into the system for distribution system testing commencing today.
In the interim, residents are being supplied by a limited well field water supply using a smaller standby generator for power supply, the statement said.
The Simms, Long island Desalination Plant was reactivated on Saturday evening after the restoration of BEC’s power supply.
The Deadman’s Cay Desalination Plant, which supplies all of central Long Island, was reactivated on Monday using the onsite standby generator.
The plant remains on, WSC said, but parts of the distribution system remain off due to a large number of leaks caused during the passage of the hurricane. A four-man team was deployed yesterday with additional vehicles to assist with the urgent location of all system leaks and their repair.
In Crooked Island and Long Cay, work to reactivate the Colonel Hill well field water supply system using a standby generator for power supply is in progress. It is expected that this system should be active by today.
The WSC team was able to get to Long Cay on Tuesday and confirmed that WSC’s desalination plant is intact but there is no power supply. WSC is working closely with BEC for the early restoration of the power supply. Residents are being supplied by gravity feed from the limited water supply in the storage tanks.
The Snug Corner/Mason’s Bay, Acklins desalination plant was reactivated on Monday following the restoration of BEC’s power supply. The Hard Hill Tank System is being supplied from Snug Corner/Mason’s Bay.
The Salina Point desalination plant in Acklins is also intact but there is no power supply. WSC is working closely with BEC for the early restoration of the power supply. Residents are being supplied by gravity feed from the limited water supply in the storage tank.
The team has reported that the Chesters/Lovely Bay in Acklins well field now has BEC power supply and the team has reactivated the water supply. The pipeline to Lovely Bay is reported to have sustained heavy damage when the bridge was washed away. A repair team is being prepared for deployment to carry out the required repairs.
In Mayaguana the WSC staff has reported that BEC’s power supply to the Pirates Well/Betsy Bay well field water supply system is on and the system is now supplying water to the residents. They also reported no damage to the new desalination plants on the island.