31 Jan 2011

Drought may be behind latest cholera outbreak in PNG's Morobe

8:10 pm on 31 January 2011

Drought is being blamed for a resurgence in reported cases of cholera in Papua New Guinea's Morobe Province.

On Saturday 19 people were admitted to the cholera treatment centre in Angau Hospital with symptoms of the disease and 12 tested positive.

The provincial health administrator for Morobe Province, Dr Likei Theo, says weekly meetings are being held to try and control the spread of cholera, particularly in Lae and adjacent urban areas.

He says the renewed influx in cholera cases could be due to drought.

"I think that forced the people, the communities in the settlement areas who normally don't have safe water supplies and safe toilet systems and because of the dry season, that could force them into using the contaminated water. So that is what we are speculating."

Dr Likei Theo says the health administration has been talking to town water suppliers about establishing safe water in the most needy areas, but is finding it challenging.

Cholera first hit Morobe in 2009 claiming several dozen lives.