7 Feb 2008

Disease fears in Fiji in wake of cyclone

8:19 pm on 7 February 2008

Health officials in Fiji fear of an outbreak of illnesses after several people have been diagnosed with diarrhoea following the flooding by cyclone Gene.

The cyclone killed seven people and flooded buildings, and several people in Ra in the north of Viti Levu have now been diagnosed with diarrhoea.

The Community Health centre in the western division says many rural areas are without clean water and villagers catch the illness because they drink the contaminated water.

Its acting manager, Dr Isimeli Tukana, says officials are now raising awareness to ensure it doesn't become a bigger problem.

"If there's a situation like in Ra, in Rakiraki hospital, then their subdivisional outbreak response team go out and do health promotions. So, yes, our outbreak response team has reacted swiftly to the situation."

Dr Isimeli Tukana says people should boil water before they drink it.

Dr Tukana says dengue, typhoid and leptospirosis could also become problems, but community awareness helps contain these illnesses.