4 Nov 2009

Cholera outbreak in PNG worsens

9:06 am on 4 November 2009

Seven people are now confirmed and about two-hundred are suspected of suffering from cholera in Papua New Guinea's Madang in a worsening outbreak.

Cholera is a diarrheal infection caused by bacteria and can kill healthy people within hours.

One person was confirmed dead ten days ago.

In addition, 14 people are confirmed with the diarrhea illness, dysentery, with local media reports putting the number to 190 cases.

The World Health Organisation's representative, Alexander Rosewell, is in Madang and says all the people infected with cholera are from one area just outside of Madang city.

"There have been 200 cases of acute watery diarrhea coming through the hospital in Madang as well as other clinics around the settlement areas. We've had at this stage seven laboratory confirmed cases of cholera from pathology in Port Moresby General Hospital, plus an excess of about 200 suspect cases of cholera."

Alexander Rosewell says all confirmed and suspected cases are being treated at the Modilon hospital, which is coping well with the outbreak.