Richard Edwards, one of the victims who fell ill after consuming cassava grown in his backyard at Wakapoa village in the Pomeroon River last week, is now battling for his life at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.

This morning, the 76-year-old man was taken to the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit where he is said to be clinging to life. Edwards’ daughter, Selena Thomas, died at the same hospital yesterday afternoon.

His son, Gavin Edwards and son-in-law, Richard Thomas, (Selena’s husband) along with Thomas’s father, Oscar Phillips are said to be in a stable condition.

The Guyana Standard has been informed that the family became ill sometime last week, shortly after they ate a meal made with the cassava. The produce was grown in the family’s backyard and it is suspected that it was contaminated with pesticides.

According to information received, the day after the family ate the cassava, the deceased’s husband went to work but was forced to return home after he started suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting. In the same week, other members of the family started having the same symptoms.

At first, residents suspected that they were infected with leptospirosis. They visited the health centre in their village on Thursday where they were subsequently transferred to the GPHC for treatment.

While it is suspected that the family was poisoned by the cassava, this has not been proven as yet by health officials.  Officers from both the Ministry of Agriculture and Education are expected to visit the village and carry out some tests on the produce.


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