A 76-year-old man died yesterday at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC)— over a week after he and his family consumed a meal made with cassava.
The deceased has been identified as Richard Edwards. He passed away in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. Two other relatives, Kishanna Thomas and Anasha Richards, both 15 are now patients at the same hospital.
Edwards’ daughter, Selena Thomas, died at GPHC on Monday. 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.
Officials suspect that the cassava which was grown in the family’s backyard, might have been contaminated with some type of pesticides. So far, two persons have succumbed while five others are hospitalized.
The Guyana Standard has been informed that the family became ill two Mondays ago shortly after they ate homemade cassava bread with pepper pot.
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. A post mortem examination performed on Selena Thomas’ body was inconclusive. As such, her stomach content will be sent overseas for further testing.