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Gastroenteritis Outbreak Reported in Various Parts of Boquete District


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Initial reaction: Bad news for the community about an important utility.

Second reaction: Glad that we are not on the Boquete water system.

Third reaction: Public notices such as this without dates, areas affected, and more specific details about the contamination are, IMO, not good communications procedure.

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I was just in town this morning and ran into two expats who stated that the pharmacies are running out of medicine.


Here are Whatsapp messages from one of my Panamanian neighbors:

"[8:54 AM, 2/7/2019] +507 xxxx-xxxx: I went last nigth to get medicine at romero it was full of people buying something to stop the diarrea and vomit"

"[8:55 AM, 2/7/2019] +507 xxxx-xxxx: And was 1:30 am"

Edited by Siempre Soluciones
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Gastroenteritis Hits in Boquete

MINSA reported 200 cases registered in children under 14 years, discards contamination in drinking water


The outbreak of gastroenteritis that strikes children in the district of Boquete continues to cause concern, health authorities confirmed that about 200 cases have been reported in children under 14 years.

Alcibíades Batista, director of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) in Chiriqui, explained that it is a case of vomiting and diarrhea from the community of Alto Boquete and Bajo Boquete.

Yesterday, officials from the Minsa regional directorate conducted tests on the drinking water consumed by this sector of the district where they ruled out that the outbreak was due to water quality, after presenting the results in a technical report and detailed that in the The last few hours the behavior of cases of gastroenteritis in the district has remained stable.

The Department of Public Health and the multidisciplinary team of the region continue to carry out the pertinent investigations and new water samples will be made in different parts of the district, since the results of the analyzes carried out so far are negative, Batista reported.

It was known that patients have received oral and intravenous rehydration treatment at the Ernesto Perez Balladares polyclinic of the Caja de Seguro Social in the district of Boquete.


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I guess because Coliform bacteria was not isolated in the water, the water is then deemed "good"...thus the title: "Bad Water" would not pertain to the topic.  Well not necessarily.  That is why Minsa still recommends boiling the water.  I guess a title could be:  epidemic gastroenteritis hits Boquete and surrounding towns....cause yet unknown.    

When we took our water sample in to be tested awhile back a test for Giardia was not done.  They said they do not test for that.  So if you don't test for it, it will not be found.  Just a thought.

Edited by Brundageba
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1 hour ago, BD said:

Why,, and what title do you suggest as a replacement?

Test results show there is no proof that Municipal drinking Water is Bad, so the Title is misleading and disparaging, imo.

Gastroenteritis Hits Boquete might be more appropriate.

The MINSA directives to boil water, wash hands and vegetables, etc. are a standard issue set of precautions. Nowhere did the notices say that drinking water was contaminated. The only "Bad Water" notice came from the Newslady.

Many of the people who were ill came from 'outside the reaches of the water system'

Local doctors Diaz and Gomez also feel this was a virus being passed around.



Edited by Keith Woolford
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Virus is a possible. But Giardia is another possible.  Giardia is very common in well water and the months it is highest are Summer months.  Until there is a definitive answer, the possibility of a water borne gastroenteritis can not be ruled out.  Water testing for Giardia can be done.  It's commonly done in the USA for well water supplies by the US Health Departments.  If the tests for Giardia are done here on all the water sources where the gastroenteritis cases are high and they come back negative, then virus is a stronger possibility.  This would be standard public health practice where water supply is suspect and especially well water and untreated mountain water. (BTW Giardia cysts are somewhat resistant to chlorine.)

If you do not have a water purification system in your home then you should be boiling water for drinking.  I would assume the majority of the populous here do not have these systems installed , nor water storage tanks and are drinking water direct from the pipe.  For the poor without storage tanks, to be washing hands and bodies when they are not getting water to their homes is problematic. 

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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Gastroenteritis Outbreak in Various Parts of Boquete District
  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Gastroenteritis Outbreak Reported in Various Parts of Boquete District

This is a CDC primer on Norovirus.

Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. People of all ages can get infected and sick with norovirus.

Based on electron microscopic (EM) imagery, this three-dimensional (3D) illustration provides a graphical representation of a single norovirus virion, set against a white background.


Norovirus spreads easily!

People with norovirus illness can shed billions of norovirus particles. And only a few virus particles can make other people sick.

You can get norovirus from:
  • Having direct contact with an infected person
  • Consuming contaminated food or water
  • Touching contaminated surfaces and then putting your unwashed hands in your mouth

Norovirus is sometimes called the stomach flu or stomach bug. However, norovirus illness is not related to the flu which is caused by influenza virus.

You can get norovirus illness many times in your life because there are many different types of noroviruses. Infection with one type of norovirus may not protect you against other types. It is possible to develop immunity to (protection against) specific types. But, it is not known exactly how long immunity lasts. This may explain why so many people of all ages get infected during norovirus outbreaks. Also, whether you are susceptible to norovirus infection is also determined in part by your genes.



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