20 Nov 2009

Cholera in PNG's East Sepik reaches critical stage

4:51 pm on 20 November 2009

Health officials in Papua New Guinea's East Sepik Province say the spread of cholera has reached a critical stage.

Five people have died as a result of the disease in the province and a further 90 have been infected with the disease.

Cholera spread to neighbouring Madang about a month ago, after earlier being detected in Morobe.

The East Sepik Provincial Health Administrator, Samson Torovi, says the situation is critical as the disease is water borne and the people depend on using the surrounding rivers and lakes.

"Now we have upgraded the function of the taskforce now into areas of preventive, curative, surveillance, establishment of care centres and we are now developing strategies. Our main objective is to try to contain the infected or affected areas before they spread."

Samson Torovi says the province is now awaiting for health authorities in Port Moresby to confirm the outbreak before an emergency is declared.