Conch poisoning outbreak in the capital



With four confirmed cases of conch poisoning in New Providence, the Ministry of Health cautioned Bahamians against consuming the delicacy in the wake of this latest outbreak.

Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands confirmed the four Bahamians suffering from the illness.

The earliest case, he said, dates back to Saturday.

Dr. Sands revealed that an additional six persons have been hospitalized with symptoms of conch poisoning.

He said even though the number of cases is considered minimal, the ministry’s warning is a proactive measure to prevent future cases.

The ministry, he said, is expected to begin dialogue with local vendors to ensure that they are utilizing proper cleaning methods in the preparation of conch dishes.

“Conch should be washed with fresh water, and not salt water, to ensure that all bacteria is removed from the conch meat,” suggested Dr. Sands.

He urged Bahamians to ask local vendors about the processes they employ during the preparation of conch dishes.

“If they do not wash the conch in fresh water during the process of preparing it, then do not purchase the conch,” he warned.

The early onset of conch poisoning is said to be accompanied with watery diarrhea and extreme abdominal cramps.

Some cases, the health minster said, are so severe that it can lead to dehydration and subsequent hospitalization.

The last major outbreak of conch poisoning dates back to the 1990’s, according to Dr. Sands.