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Tunnel cleaners affected by histoplasmosis

The Ministry of Public Health has confirmed that the cleaning crew members who fell ill after working in the Tavera-Bao tunnel were infected with histoplasmosis, a disease that is usually contracted from exposure to bat or dove droppings. Ministry of Environment specialists visited the site yesterday, Thursday 17 September 2015. Three workers have died, after 28 were hospitalized.

26 men worked without protection at the de-aeration tunnels of the Tavera-Bao dam in Santiago province. The third victim was Tomas Fernandez, 35, who was being treated at the Clinica Corominas in Santiago after several days in the Sabana Iglesia public hospital, where most of the men who were poisoned lived. As reported, the work was commissioned by the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources (Indrhi), which is responsible for dams, and EgeHID, the government hydraulic power distribution company.

The 16-year old daughter of one of the laborers, Alejandro Rosario Valerio, was also poisoned and has been hospitalized.

At a press conference yesterday, Thursday 17 September 2015, Dr. Jose Manuel Puello, director general of Collective Health at the Ministry of Public Health, Environmental Health director Luis Roa, and Vanessa Quinones and Eunice de los Santos, provincial directors for the Ministry in Santiago, confirmed that the workers had been affected by histoplasmosis, a disease that is contracted after prolonged exposure and contact with bats or doves.

The Ministry of Public Health said that 17 of the people were most probably exposed to the fungus in the bird and bat droppings when working on the rehabilitation of the three Tavera-Bao dam tunnels. Samples were sent to the United States Center for Disease Control for confirmation and technical coordination.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labor established that EgeHid had contracted workers who were not covered by health insurance. The Ministry of Labor ordered the suspension of the cleaning of the Tavera-Bao dam tunnels due to the high levels of biological contamination at the site.

Source: DR1, Eldia

Sep 18, 2015

Category: DR News |

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