Dr Jamilah: Be vigilant of diseases brought by flood waters

Dr Jamilah Hashim

KUCHING: Those affected by floods are urged to be vigilant of diseases brought by flood waters during this flood season.

Sarawak Health Director Dr Jamilah Hashim said in a statement that her department has been monitoring for diseases such as leptospirosis, melioidosis and conjunctivitis through health facilities around flood-affected areas daily throughout the flood season.

As of now there have been no reports of any of the diseases, she added.

“Prevention measures are also being taken such as spraying of insecticides and disinfection, as well as clearing of spots potential for breeding Aedes mosquitoes,” she said.

Besides that, health awareness talks and distribution of fliers on diseases carried by flood waters were also conducted, Dr Jamilah added.

She advised the public to practice prevention measures to avoid the diseases. Among them was to avoid getting into or playing with flood waters, especially those with open wounds or irritation to the skin.

This is because leptospirosis could infect a person through the contaminated flood water, said Dr Jamilah.

“Only drink boiled water and consume cleanly cooked food to avoid food poisoning and diseases such as cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A and acute gastroenteritis,” she advised.

She suggested practicing personal oral hygiene like washing hands with soap before preparing food, before eating, after going to the toilet, and after conducting cleaning activities especially involving flood waters and sewage.

When electricity supply has been cut off, she urged those affected to ensure the food items in their refrigerators are not spoilt before being consumed.

“Avoid consuming food exposed to flood water or exposed in the open for more than four hours,” Dr Jamilah said.

She also advised those working in flooded areas to take extra precautions when electricity supply was still live to avoid being electrocuted when live wires are touching flood waters.

When clearing areas for debris brought by flood waters, Dr Jamilah reminded those involved in clearing and cleaning works to make sure all stagnant waters are cleared as well to ensure no breeding places for mosquitoes carrying dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses.

“Plan early evacuation if you have chronic diseases especially requiring haemodialysis or routine medical attention to avoid being cut off of treatment.

“Also please ensure your medications are adequate and stored in a safe place to avoid flood damage.

“If medication supply is short, please inform the medical team immediately,” she advised to those having to be evacuated.

To those having symptoms such as fever, stomach aches, vomiting, diarrhoea and coughing are to seek medical attention from the medical officers at evacuation centres or nearest medical facilities, Dr Jamilah added.

For further information on prevention measures and others go to website www.infosihat.gov.my/index.php/multimedia/e-magazine/item/banjir-2.

“The Sarawak Health Department will continue to monitor and update on the flood situation,” said Dr Jamilah.

As of December 10, four divisions in the state were affected by flood – Miri, Limbang, Bintulu and Kuching – involving two districts in Miri, two districts in Bintulu, and one district each in Limbang and Kuching, she said.

“A total of 10 medical facilities were affected by the flood – five in Bintulu, four in Miri and one in Limbang.

Nine of the 10 facilities have their compound flooded while one had the building submerged, Dr Jamilah added.

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Source: https://www.theborneopost.com/2019/12/11/dr-jamilah-be-vigilant-of-diseases-brought-by-flood-waters/