TAKE PRECAUTIONS AGAINST SALMONELLA

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In light of concerns relating to the occurrence of salmonellosis outside the region, the Ministries of Agriculture and Health have urged members of the public to take precautions to prevent an outbreak occurring here. Individuals are asked to thoroughly cook all foods, particularly meat and eggs and all foods derived from animal sources including poultry, pork and egg products, and meat dishes.

Persons should refrain from eating these foods in their raw or undercooked state. This especially refers to products containing raw or incompletely cooked eggs such as egg-nog and home-made ice cream. The use of dirty or cracked eggs should be avoided.

Any food for refrigeration should be stored in small air-tight containers.
Cross-contamination of foods should be avoided. Uncooked meats should be kept separate from cooked foods including ready-to-eat foods.

Cutting boards, counters, knives, and other utensils should be washed and sanitised thoroughly after touching uncooked foods.

Hands should be washed before handling food, and between handling different food items. The Health Ministry is also advising the public that they should wash hands properly after going to the bathroom and before eating a meal.

Other actions which officials from the Agriculture and Health Ministries recommend include cleaning and disinfecting kitchen surfaces, particularly when working with raw meat, poultry or eggs and keeping these items separate from foods.

At the farm level, persons should practise proper hygiene around animals, especially poultry and pigs by making sure the farm is cleared of all debris and unwanted bush that may harbour pests or wild birds; restrict access to the farm, install disinfectant footbaths, wash hands before and after handling the animals and use only clean potable water for drinking and cleaning. 

Specifically poultry farmers, should thoroughly clean and disinfect houses between batches, collect eggs frequently and use only new or clean disinfected trays. Eggs should be stored in a cool, dry place and individuals are advised not to sell dirty, cracked or dented eggs for use as table eggs. Furthermore, rodent control should be an ongoing practice, but is especially effective between batches of birds when there is no feed in the pens.

Meanwhile, individuals preparing food should wash hands, before, during and after preparation, as well as maintain a sanitary kitchen and protect prepared foods against rodent and insect contamination.

In addition, individuals should clean areas around the home to prevent rats and other vermin.

Salmonellosis is an infection with bacteria called Salmonella. Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhoea, headache, abdominal pain, nausea and fever 12 to 36 hours after consumption of contaminated food. Disease severity varies according to the individual that is infected and the type of Salmonella involved.

In some persons, fever, diarrhoea and vomiting may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalised.

Any person suffering from the above symptoms should seek medical advice and attention. 

Author: Joy-Ann Gill/Theresa Blackman
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