Last update: 05-Dec-2013 8:03 am
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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The ORT story
Back in the 70s, gastroenteritis or “gastro,” as the people who matter call it, was endemic in T&T. It was here, there and everywhere. Everyone had had it, every child got it and most babies, except the fully-breastfed ones, were waiting to get it. From time to time, about twice a year, it broke loose, became an epidemic, that is, from 500 cases a month, you suddenly had 1,000, 2,000 cases, Tobago lagging a bit behind Trinidad. As usual. (Now my two readers in Tobago vex with me.) Happened every February and July.
Carnival and mango (fly) season, said the illiterate (about half the population). Dry and wet season, said the budding bigmouths, still giving classes at junior tech. Until a Trini doctor, Barbara Hull, based at Carec, and her team of nurses, Jay Braithwaite, Veronica Roach and Olga Wilson, found out that the early year outbreak was due to a virus called rotavirus, but could not find out what was happening in July. And so it has remained. What with more breastfeeding and babies eating more blue food and better water supply and more stoves and fridges at Christmas time, the early outbreaks have basically vanished but “dem flies, boy, dem flies…..dey eh easy, nuh!”
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