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Diseases emerging locally because BVI has ‘fallen off’ track

Diseases emerging locally because BVI has ‘fallen off’ track

CEO of the BVI Health Services Authority, Dr June Samuel said the BVI has seen an emergence of certain diseases because the community has ‘fallen off track’ with preventative care.
Dr Samuel said healthcare workers have seen local emergent diseases such as Hand-foot-and-mouth, as well as respiratory tract illnesses in children.

“I would dare to say that we as a community have fallen off, because
recently we had an outbreak of Hand, Foot & Mouth disease in our daycares, …and now we are seeing in the ER, children coming through with respiratory tract illnesses. We are not doing the things that we should do…we need to do the things we should do to keep ourselves safe,” Dr Samuel explained during her address at a recent local ceremony to mark International Infection Prevention Week.

The local health experts at the ceremony also expressed serious concern about diseases such as COVID 19, Ebola and Monkey Pox. They said they are eyeing these diseases as they can re-emerge globally at any time and become a threat to the BVI.

“There’s no way we can go back to the way we used to live. Imagine COVID-19 is still very present and here comes Monkeypox. Ebola is also raising its head again, there’s a current outbreak as we speak in Uganda. But again, because of science and the headway that has been made there are six candidate vaccines in the works right now, for this new strain of Ebola,” Infection Prevention Manager Rosa Ravariere-Seaman explained.

“Understandably, the rapid rise and spread of Ebola across five districts in Uganda have alarmed scientists and raised fears that the outbreak may not be easy to contain. With the advent of world travel, all it takes is one case, one person to leave Uganda and God forbid; we may be facing something similar to COVID,” she added.

In the meantime, Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronald Georges said the BVI has to “build on the foundations of the past”.

“We have to understand the new challenges of re-emerging and emerging infections. We have to also understand how we as healthcare professionals can introspect in ourselves and influence our behaviours and those around us,” Dr Ronald Georges said.

International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW) is organised annually by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

The week of activities this year highlighted decades of infection prevention, while inspiring the next generation of infection preventionists.

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