Health Minister sees increase seen in cases of conch poisoning

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Health Minister Duane Sands says there are now ten confirmed cases of conch poisoning across the country.
Sand, in an interview with the Tribune newspaper said that although an education campaign for vendors is continuing, all cases have been seen in patients eating conch from Potter’s Cay Dock. According to the Health Minister consumers need to play an active role by demanding that conch is washed in fresh water before it is eaten raw.
He added that the educational campaign for vendors is continuing, as the illness can be prevented simply by washing conch in fresh water.
Conch poisoning is caused by vibrio parahaemolyticus, a bacteria which requires salt water to live.
“Vibrio is not an issue of the meat itself….Vibrio is a bacteria that ordinarily lives in seawater and is a part of the surface of the conch. The conch meat itself is not infected with vibrio parahaemolyticus. So you can wash it off.”
Sands told the Tribune that the waters “at and around” both Arawak Cay and Potter’s Cay have been tested and officials have confirmed the presence of vibrio in the water.
He said while some vendors have heeded the calls to wash conch in fresh water, others will require more effort to change long-held beliefs.

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