There is an increased risk of contracting water- and mosquito-borne diseases in Antigua and Barbuda due to flooding and other damage caused by the recent passage of Hurricane Irma, which hit the island nation on Wednesday, September 6. Current shortages of safe drinking water in particular are increasing the likelihood of a health crisis.
Hurricane Irma, a powerful storm, caused widespread destruction and at least 79 deaths as it moved through the Caribbean region September 5-10. According to the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, 95 percent of structures on the islands were destroyed or damaged, leaving over 50 percent of the population homeless.
Individuals present in Antigua and Barbuda are advised to drink only bottled or decontaminated water, take measures to prevent mosquito bites, stay away from downed power lines, and adhere to all advice issued by the local authorities. Because floodwater may contain wastewater or chemical products, wear boots and try to avoid any contact with the water; all items having come into contact with the water should be disinfected and all foodstuffs disposed of.
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