NASSAU, Bahamas, July 8, 2018 (CMC) – The Ministry of Health says four persons have been affected by conch poisoning, also known as Vibrio parahaemolyticus, in recent days.
This was revealed by Health Minister, Dr. Duane Sands, during a recent press briefing.
“The Ministry assures the public that it is monitoring these instances and, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment, is taking the necessary steps to protect the health of those affected and, through targeted interventions, prevent further cases,” the Health Minister revealed.
He said that when ingested, the Vibrio bacteria can cause watery diarrhea, often accompanied by abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills.
Dr. Sands said usually these symptoms occur, within 24 hours of ingestion and last about three days.
“Severe illness is rare, and typically occurs in people with a weakened immune system,” he explained.
He said Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a “halophilic” organism, meaning that it requires salt water to live.
“To decrease the risk of becoming ill after eating conch, which we know is a national food, the Ministry is advising that the conch be cooked, or if eaten raw, should be thoroughly washed in clean fresh water, to remove the bacteria from the conch,” Sands advised.
The Health Minister said this is in keeping with the government’s stated policy, regarding conch handling, since the 1990’s. Additionally, all conch vendors are required to take a food handlers’ course, as well as have fresh potable water at their stalls.