“There are two main sources that can lead to the appearance of infectious diseases in the region” noted the Deputy Minister of Health, Irini Agapidakis speaking to ERT and underlined that one is the use of inappropriate water and the other is any contact with dead animals.

“One is the use of inappropriate water, which is stagnant water, mud, all that part of the water that comes from the flood. It is important that citizens understand that this the water is potentially contaminated, because in addition to the transported materials, it contains dead rodents, animals that have been carried away, etc. So the citizens should not, even if they get this water from the sea, because dead animals, transported materials have been washed up in the sea, they should not they shouldn’t even use this water to wash, let’s say pieces in their house to do restoration work.”

For this purpose, as he said, a Hygienic Epidemiology Laboratory headed by Mr. Hatzichristodoulou has been installed in the coordination of Public Health. “There we will do all the checks and for water and topological surveillance and epidemiological surveillance and diseases. So in each region there is an operational plan in progress where water samples are taken, the results are available and then the water is put into circulation by the local authorities” said the deputy minister.

For the areas in which the water supply has been restored, he emphasized that “in Volos, the local government has also announced that the water is not for people to drink, nor to wash their faces. This water is suitable for doing work. They can, say, wash pieces at home, use them for such tasks and so on. In order to bathe, people should boil it at 100 degrees for three minutes, let it cool and then,” referring to Larissa, she noted that “the water had been put into circulation, because as you know the center of Larissa was not affected by the floods and the necessary checks have been carried out every day, depending on the restoration of the water supply network in the various areas and the laboratory results , citizens will be given access to water supply”.

“You realize that the network in some areas has suffered a lot of damage. They are not easy to restore immediately. So what we recommend in the first phase is bottled water and in fact citizens should consume it. After making sure that the bottles have not come in contact with sludge, the caps have not been crushed. It is of great importance that the water we drink is safe. Let me say that we also do distribution. We have distributed tons of bottled water and we continue every day precisely to supply the citizens and have availability so they can protect themselves,” he added.

With reference to the second case of residents’ risk exposure, he noted that “the second source I want to point out is the dead animals. Because I also come from a rural village and we have a familiarity with all this. It didn’t bother us if a hen crowed… here it is not such a condition, we should all be very careful. Contact with dead animals is dangerous. People shouldn’t even let pets wallow in flood mud or come into contact with dead animals.”

While regarding the actions of the authorities, he emphasized that “we have already started, in cooperation with the services of the Region and of course the competent Ministry of Rural Development, all the necessary actions. Collection, burning and sanitary burial of the animals has begun. We are further strengthening the forces of the Region so that this can be done very quickly, depending on the access that exists on the road network, you know the collection of the dead animals is also planned”.

Compensation for dead animals

The competent Minister, Mr. Avgenakis, clarified this, they have issued an announcement from the Department of Rural Development since the first day, and I say it again, there is no question of not giving compensation because the dead animals will be removed. Compensation will be given. Citizens should notify the authorities to take the dead animals, take them for burning and landfill. There is no question of them not being compensated because they will collect the animals and go to proper management in order to protect public health. ELGA has information from other sources and all compensations will be given normally.

For the risk of malaria

There is currently no risk of malaria in the area, in relation to mosquitoes, although there are cases of West Nile, the flood also destroyed mosquito eggs. We have teams of entomologists, we do entomological surveillance because the public health services of the Ministry of Health do this all year round. What I can tell you about the mosquitoes now with certainty is that we have destroyed their eggs as well. We won’t have a problem with mosquitoes this week. But we are observing the situation. We have put appropriate sampling traps so that if larvae appear we can do the proper management to deal with them so that the area does not have a problem with mosquitoes. I say this because the mosquito is a host that can cause these types of health and communicable problems.

For cases of gastroenteritis

The risk of gastroenteritis is also very basic. That is, if someone drinks non-potable water or comes into contact with muddy water and does not pay attention to its management, they can develop gastroenteritis, and can develop leptospirosis if they come into contact with a dead anus and become infected. But at this moment there is no reason for complacency, nor for panic. We want citizens to know what the Guidelines are. The main sources of contamination are mud and dead animals. So we avoid those two and use bottled water. This is the basic guideline. We also do laboratory analyzes on any cases of gastroenteritis we have to know where they come from. I say again about the sampling analysis of the water in collaboration with all the municipalities and this will be done for a long time in the critical infrastructures, hospitals and of course epidemiological surveillance for the cases we will have, to be sure that we deal with them in time, isolate them and we have no further issue.