4 Nov 2009

WHO in PNG says health workers are coping with cholera outbreak

9:11 am on 4 November 2009

The World Health Organisation in Papua New Guinea says health workers are coping well with a worsening outbreak of cholera and dysentery in Madang.

Seven people are now confirmed with the illness and about two-hundred are suspected of suffering from cholera just outside of Madang city.

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

One person was confirmed dead about ten days ago.

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

A WHO representative, Alexander Rosewell, says all confirmed and suspected cases are being treated in hospital.

"The emergency department is turned into a temporary cholera treatment centre. We're working with the hospital to develop a more sustainable cholera treatment centre to see the number of cases coming through. Work will also be done with the district clinics to prepare them in terms of case management and infection control as well."

Alexander Rosewell, of the WHO.