Thursday, November 11, 2010

Daru cholera claims 16, 70 admitted



THE death toll from cholera on Daru Island in Western and nearby mainland villages has climbed to 16, The National reports.

Daru General Hospital chief executive officer Dr Amos Lano gave the updated figure yesterday, saying four deaths were reported at the Fly River village of Kenediba and one more in Daru.

He said, however, that the Kenediba deaths could not be confirmed as cholera-linked although patients reported acute watery diarrhoea, abdominal pain and vomiting.

Lano said the situation in Daru appeared to be under control and, so far, only one person was admitted on Tuesday night.

He said since the first case of acute watery diarrhoea was reported in Daru on Oct 15, more than 250 people had been treated at the hospital, 70 were admitted while 16 – mostly children and the elderly – were now confirmed dead.

Lano said most deaths were from the waterfront areas, an indication that the sickness was suspected to have spread to other areas on the mainland.

Meanwhile, health authorities in the Australian state of Queensland were monitoring a cholera outbreak, Radio Australia reported yesterday.

Queensland health said it had alerted staff at clinics on islands in the Torres Strait to be on the lookout for anyone with the symptoms.

Radio Australia quoted Dr Steven Donohue as saying that there was no real risk of it spreading further.

“It is not to say there will not ever be a case but, even if there was, provided that they got to medical care in time, then, there really will not be much of a concern,” he said.

“The conditions are completely different in the Torres Strait islands of Australia.

“The conditions for the spread of the disease are just not there.

“Very little of the disease is spread person to person and most of it is through dirty food and water and the environment.”

Donohue said the islands had excellent clean water supplies, food and sanitation as well as health services that could deal with any cases if they arose.



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