11 Mar 2004

Influenza outbreak in Fiji downs thousands including many medical staff

8:36 am on 11 March 2004

An influenza outbreak in Fiji has made tens of thousands of people ill, including doctors and nurses.

Hospitals and health centres are reportedly treating large numbers of flu patients every day, some as many as 250 to 300.

Even Suva Private Hospital, which charges full fees in a relatively poor country, has been seeing 150 to 200 sufferers every day.

Many doctors and nurses have contracted the virus themselves while treating patients, putting additional pressure on health services.

Some medical staff have not been able to report for work while others are continuing to treat patients because there is no one else.

A Health Ministry spokesman says the Influenza Type A virus is highly infectious with symptoms which include headache, fever, muscle pains, coughing and dizziness.