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FIJI-Typhoid Epidemic

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  • FIJI-Typhoid Epidemic

    <TABLE cellSpacing=3 cellPadding=3 width=996 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD>Almost 9000 villagers are at imminent risk of catching typhoid from contaminated water supplies. Tests have confirmed that all water sources in the Natewa Bay and Buca Bay area carry the bacteria that causes the disease. Health authorities have banned all gatherings of people to try to minimise the spread of the disease which has already killed one man and infected 65 other people. The Central and Eastern divisions have been placed on alert for typhoid, dengue fever and leptospirosis, following the outbreak in the North. Ministry of Health national advisor on family health Doctor Josaia Samuela said 65 cases of typhoid fever, 34 cases of dengue fever and 22 cases of leptospirosis had been reported in the Northern Division. Health teams had been sent to carry out typhoid tests on everyone. The Health Ministry has banned all functions traditional, church or private in the Natewa and Buca Bay areas. Tests on water samples from three sources and tanks in the 12 villages and 42 settlements of Natewa Bay and other villages in Buca Bay confirmed the presence of the bacteria.

    The health department in Cakaudrove confirmed all water sources in the area were contaminated. Sub-divisional medical officer Doctor Mohammed Ishaque said the result was a worry as they worked with police and State officials to fight the outbreak. Dr Ishaque urged the 3500 villagers of Buca Bay and 5000 villagers of Natewa to boil all drinking water and to wash their hands after using the toilet and before eating. "It is a serious matter and we are concerned about the lives of the villagers as the water sources, including the rivers, are contaminated," he said. "We have put a stop to all functions because that is one of the major ways of spreading typhoid through food preparation," he said. Northern Division police media liaison officer Ajay Nand said villages in the Tunuloa District at risk of contracting typhoid were Bala Settlement, Salia, Navetau, Wailevu, Muana and Qaravutu; Buca Village in the Natewa District and Nanovu Settlement in Cakaudrove-i-vanua District. "The recent death of 32-year-old school teacher Iliesa Ralala of Wailevu District School in Tunuloa, prompted medical authorities to conduct investigations into the matter," Sergeant Nand said.

    "This has resulted in the closure of Wailevu District School and the discovery of existing threat of disease outbreak in the remote area of Tunuloa and Natewa District." Dr Ishaque said they had advised the Methodist Church to postpone a conference planned for Natewa. He said the health department was working with the chefs of all restaurants and hotels in Savusavu conducting tests as food preparation was a major way of spreading typhoid. Dr Ishaque said a team was sent over the weekend to take samples of water from the area. "We have received the results of the water samples and they have confirmed presence of bacteria. "That is why we had an urgent meeting this morning with the police and the Roko Tui Cakaudrove to discuss ways of dealing with the situation. "As a result of that meeting, we have organised two teams that will leave for the affected areas today," Dr Ishaque said.) </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>