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Leptospirosis-related illness kills second Chinese national, two others discharged

Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.

A second Chinese manganese mining worker, who fell ill in northwestern Guyana, died Wednesday night while undergoing treatment for complications associated with leptospirosis, the Ministry of Public Health said.

“We are saddened at the passing of another worker,” Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Shamdeo Persaud was quoted as saying in a ministry statement.

Authorities also said two other workers have been discharged from the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) after they were successfully treated.

The Public Health Ministry gave no indication of the type of illness that has afflicted more than a dozen Chinese nationals, only describing it as an outbreak of an “infectious disease” at the Guyana Manganese Incorporated (GMI)-owned tunnel in Matthews Ridge, Barima/Waini (Region One).

Another mining employee, who was also tested positive for leptospirosis, is in “critical but stable condition” an Internal Medicine specialist at the GPHC confirmed Thursday, the Public Health Ministry said.

Regional Health Officer (RHO) Dr Vishal Ramjas said Thursday that another GMI employee was admitted at the Pakera Hospital and is undergoing treatment for “a respiratory tract infection”. The patient is also in a stable condition, Dr Ramjas said.

Meanwhile, Dr Persaud reiterated that “all precautionary measures are still in place at the Matthews Ridge tunnel site and immediate surroundings and essential medical supplies are in stock to treat employees of the mining firm and residents of the area.”

Since last week’s outbreak, the area has been deemed a ‘Red Zone’ by Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) authorities and “no one is allowed to enter the site,” Dr Persaud reminded Thursday.

Government has so far ruled out swine flu (H1N1), Zika, chikungunya, dengue, and influenza A and B as the cause of the illness.

The Pan American Health Organisation and the Caribbean Public Health Agency are expected to assist Guyana in identifying the cause of the illness, apart from leptospirosis.