Death due to GBS prompts nationwide cleanup initiative

The recent death of one of two patients receiving treatment at the General Hospital for the potentially paralyzing Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) has prompted the National Democratic Congress (NDC) into action amid concern.

The main opposition party has said that the country is about to face an epidemic due to the mosquito-borne Zika virus and related diseases.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome is suspected to be related to the Zika virus.

Congress has announced plans to organize an island-wide cleanup initiative in an effort to help combat the spread of Zika.

President of the NDC Women’s Arm and Deputy Chairperson of the party, Jenny Rapier told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that Congress is currently in the “planning stages” of the initiative.

She said the party is hopeful of being in a position to give the nation more information in more detail “hopefully before the end of this week.”

“Let us declare war on these mosquitoes and garbage in an effort to save our own lives,” Rapier said.

The NDC Executive member urged Grenadians to “be mindful of the situation we are faced with” and to “practice prevention,” citing the urgent need for “island-wide cleanup brigades.”

“The NDC is willing to lead this drive,” Rapier said, while calling for the “participation of everyone” in the initiative.

The Congress member emphasised that the cleanliness drive “must begin with each individual (who has the responsibility) to keep your surroundings clean and free of mosquito breeding areas.”

Health Minister Nicholas Steele recently announced that there are 39 reported cases of Zika on the island – 9 confirmed cases and 30 suspected cases, which have not been tested but have displayed symptoms of the virus.

Grenada has confirmed the death of one male person from the disease.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), GBS is a rare condition, but people of all ages can be affected but it is more common in adults and males.

About 3%-5% of GBS patients die from complications, which can include paralysis of the muscles that control breathing, blood infection, lung clots or cardiac arrest.

In light of the recent added responsibility of International Business to the Health portfolio of Minister Steele, Rapier questioned the “readiness of Minister Steele and the Ministry of Health to even try to fight the Zika battle.

She said “ … (Yellow fever), another mosquito-borne disease is knocking at our doors…what are we putting in place just in case?”

The Head of the NDC Women’s arm urged the Keith Mitchell-led NNP government to give “some consideration to organising some sort of temporary facility to facilitate our GBS patients,” in order to prevent an overcrowded Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the St. George’s General hospital in the event of other health-related disease outbreaks.

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