News Release Archive

Public health officials say some Maritimers returning from the
Dominican Republic are reporting symptoms consistent with
bacterial infections commonly passed in unsanitary food and
water. Residents of Nova Scotia who are planning a vacation in
Mexico, Latin America or the Caribbean should be reminded of
precautions routinely recommended for visitors to such areas. 

At least seven confirmed cases of shigella infection and seven
other infections have been identified. Shigella is an organism
that causes an infection of the bowel and is spread by direct
contact with an infected person's stool or by eating or drinking
contaminated food or water. 

The most common symptom of the illness is diarrhea, but other
symptoms include abdominal cramps, nausea, loss of appetite or
fever. Shigella is treatable with antibiotics.

Travellers from Canada may experience such illness while
travelling abroad in less developed countries if they consume
local water, or food prepared with local water. Anyone travelling
to such a tropical destination should take some simple
precautions to avoid illness:

- drink purified water (by boiling or to which iodine or chlorine
  has been added) or commercially bottled beverages in sealed

- check to ensure milk and dairy products are pasteurized;

- choose fruit that can be peeled. It is usually safe. Salads,
  re-heated foods, uncooked shellfish, dishes containing raw or
  uncooked eggs, such as homemade mayonnaise, some sauces such as
  hollandaise and desserts such as mousse and food from street
  vendors should be avoided;

- avoid ice unless it is certain that it has been made with
  purified water;

- make sure cooked food has been thoroughly and freshly cooked
  and is served hot;

- use purified water for cleaning teeth;

- hand washing is one of the most important ways to prevent

If you get ill while you are away and are still ill when you get
home, please contact your family doctor for tests.

Health Canada has been contacted so public health authorities in
the Caribbean can be made aware of the situation.

Be informed of the risks and how to avoid them. And remember the
popular advice; cook it, peel it or leave it.


Contact: Lori MacLean  902-424-5025

trp                       Apr. 7, 1997 - 3:42 p.m.