Health Bureau (SSM) Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Director Lam Chong said that the number of patients seeking treatment for gastroenteritis at Kiang Wu Hospital has risen “significantly” after Typhoon Hato hit Macau last Wednesday, adding that the possible cause for some of the patients to have come down with the disease was that they ate food that had been kept at temperatures higher than recommended.
According to The Macau Post Daily, Lam made the remarks during a special press conference about the government’s ongoing Hato disaster relief measures.
Most households, offices and shops were left without electricity and tap water following Hato’s onslaught last Wednesday for up to four days.
The city’s water and electricity supplies were back to normal for most customers early this week.
Lam said that the number of people who sought treatment for gastroenteritis at Conde de S. Januario Hospital Centre was between five and 35 a day this month before the Hato onslaught. He said the number started to rise on Friday, and that 42 residents were diagnosed by the public hospital with gastroenteritis on Monday.
Lam noted there has been a significant increase in the number of people diagnosed with gastroenteritis by Kiang Wu Hospital doctors. He said that normally between 35 and 70 people were seeking treatment for gastroenteritis at the private hospital every day. He said that the number of gastroenteritis patients at the hospital rose to 178 on Monday.
Lam said that most of the gastroenteritis sufferers who sought treatment at the two hospitals after Hato hit Macau were women aged between 15 and 64.
Lam said a preliminary assessment showed that there were two possible causes for the increase in gastroenteritis cases. Some of the patients possibly consumed food that had gone off as it had not been kept at the recommended temperatures for too long due to the typhoon-induced outage, he said.
Lam said that before eating some of the patents had possibly not washed their hands thoroughly after helping remove the piles of rubbish left behind by Hato.
However, Lam stressed that the causes were yet to be confirmed by the Food Safety Centre of the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM).