Dubai: Dubai Municipality has urged residents to clean cans thoroughly before drinking from them.
There have been cases worldwide of people dying after contracting Leptospirosis — a fatal bacterial disease — after they drank directly from tainted cans.
Rodents, raccoons, cattle, goats are common carriers of a bacteria called Leptospira. When humans come into contact with water contaminated by the urine or body fluids of infected animals, they are infected by the disease.
Basheer Hassan Yousuf, food safety expert at Dubai Municipality’s Food Control Department, reassured residents there were no such cases in the UAE. “But people must take the effort to thoroughly clean cans before drinking from them directly. It is best if people can rinse the can with running water. Ideally the water should flow into any gaps on the top of the can too. But if someone does not have access to water immediately, they can wipe it with a tissue or a dry clean cloth.
“Our DM inspectors at different ports of entry take ample measures to ensure all cans coming to Dubai are thoroughly checked before they reach grocery shops and retailers,” he said.
Last year, an Indian expat in Dubai who was holidaying in a foreign country contracted an auto-immune disorder after drinking from a can contaminated with rat urine. He was kept in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for a week in India where he slipped into a coma. “I had a miraculous escape and ever since I have been educating [people] all around me on the importance of cleaning cans before opening them. Usually, people ignore this important safety measure and very few people take the effort to clean cans well before drinking from them. In fact, almost every day youngsters are drinking from cans without cleaning their hands or the can. This can be really dangerous,” said the expat who now lives in India.
Important steps before drinking from cans
Check for any stains on a can before drinking directly from it
Thoroughly rinse the can with water including the gaps on the top of the can
If you do not have access to water, wipe the can with a tissue or a dry clean cloth
It is better to buy cans which are sealed with a packet covering