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East New Britain, Papua New Guinea: Undiagnosed febrile illness - possibly dengue or chikungunya

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  • East New Britain, Papua New Guinea: Undiagnosed febrile illness - possibly dengue or chikungunya

    Published Date: 2012-12-13 20:03:43
    Subject: PRO/EDR> Undiagnosed febrile disease - Papua New Guinea: (EN) RFI
    Archive Number: 20121213.1450784

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    Date: Thu 13 Dec 2012
    Source: Radio New Zealand [edited]
    Radio New Zealand, RNZ, Public Radio, News, Current Affairs, Audio, Podcasts

    A medical research team in Papua New Guinea is investigating the cause of viral infections affecting hundreds of people in East New Britain.

    The Post Courier reports the East New Britain Provincial Health Advisor, Nicholas Larme, as saying the outbreak is not malaria, but the symptoms are similar and include high fever, vomiting, rashes, and joint and muscle aches. The paper says hundreds of people have been going to health centres and hospitals in recent weeks complaining of these symptoms.

    Mr Larme says some of the victims have been bed-ridden and have needed assistance from family to get to the medical centres, but he says there have been no deaths.

    Meanwhile, moves are underway to improve the availability of health services by bringing experienced workers out of retirement, extending the operating hours of the hospitals, and stocking up on medical supplies.

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    [This may be a continuation of a chikungunya virus outbreak that occurred in Sandaun province in northwestern Papua New Guinea that was 1st reported in June this year (2012) and occurred between June and September 2012. Between June and mid October 2012, 633 individuals in the province were affected (see ProMED-mail archive no. 20121010.1335814). The current outbreak is distant, however, occurring on a separate island in the northeastern part of Papua New Guinea. It would be of interest to know whether the above patients have been tested for chikungunya or dengue virus infections. ProMED would be interested in receiving information about the results of laboratory tests as they become available, as well as additional epidemiological information (dates, places, exact numbers of individuals affected, and mosquito vectors). This appears to be a major outbreak.