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Messages for U.S. Citizens

News Release: Update TCI Public Authorities Address Illnesses at Hotels in Providenciales to May 23, 2012 Message

June 7, 2012

Providenciales, TCI 7th June - The Ministry of Health and Education (MOHE) and Environmental Health Department (EHD) are continuing their investigation of an outbreak of diarrhea and vomiting primarily affecting hotels and resorts in Providenciales. Norovirus has been identified as the causative agent based on the clinical features of the illness and laboratory confirmation from the Caribbean Epidemiology Center (CAREC).

Norovirus infection causes a highly contagious viral illness, which is common in outbreaks of gastroenteritis (diarrhea and vomiting) throughout the world. It can be rapidly transmitted from person to person, through contact with vomitus or faeces of infected individuals, contaminated food or water, soiled surfaces, bed linens, gym equipment etc. It usually requires little or no medical intervention and usually resolves without incident.  However, we encourage ill persons to drink lots of fluids and seek medical attention if necessary.

Infection control measures focused on personal hygiene and deep cleaning and sanitization are vital to prevent the spread of norovirus. These are being promoted throughout the TCI. Public Health teams continue to conduct active surveillance at airports and affected hotels.

Reports of new illness have decreased.  However, the investigations of the Public Health Team are ongoing and are now focused on supervising and monitoring the hotels and resorts as they implement the required deep cleaning and sanitization procedures.  To this end, the Public Health Team has recently been strengthened with the arrival of two experienced Environmental Health Officers from CAREC/PAHO.

The MOHE  and EHD would also like to take this opportunity to reinforce the messages to the general public to practice healthy hygienic measures at all times such as frequent hand washing, especially when preparing meals, before eating and after using the toilet.  The MOHE will keep the public up to date on any further developments in future press releases.

For your convenience, please see below the contact information for the Ministry of Health:

Email: TCI.health@gmail.com

Telephone: # 649-941-8316