CMO appeals to public to consume safe water


Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Sheila Campbell Forrester, has appealed to individuals to ensure that they consume safe water, to prevent gastroenteritis and other viral and bacterial illnesses.
Dr. Campbell Forrester said, in a release from the Ministry of Health on Friday (March 12), that this is particularly important as, during the current drought period, more and more persons are using water from untreated sources.
“Water can be made safe by boiling or treating with household bleach. We recommend that you add two drops of bleach per litre (or quart) of water. Make sure that you mix it well and leave for at least 30 minutes before using it,” she stated.
She noted that, if persons do not wish to use bleach, water should be boiled for at least five minutes before it is removed from the fire.
Dr. Campbell Forrester also pointed out that water should be treated before it is used for drinking, washing fruits and vegetables, making ice and drinks, preparing food and washing dishes and utensils.
“We recommend that you treat your water, especially if you receive it from springs and rivers, community and catchment tanks and drums,” she advised.
The CMO said attention should be paid to the cleanness of containers used to store water for domestic purposes.
“Persons need to use only clean containers that can be properly covered to store their water. The lids should fit tightly. Do not use containers that previously contained harmful chemicals,” she warned.
The CMO also urged persons to wash their hands frequently, with soap and water, to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria.
The Ministry of Health has been expressing concern about the increased number of cases of gastroenteritis in Jamaica. There have been 3,890 reported cases of gastroenteritis as at the end of January this year, a 30% increase compared to last year.
For more information on treating and storing water safely, persons may contact the Ministry of Health or the nearest health centre.

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