27 Aug 2014

US Navy helping Samoa deal with virus

3:52 pm on 27 August 2014

The United States Army Reserve is helping Samoa deal with the outbreak of chikungunya as the Ministry of Health reports 36 per cent of samples sent for testing have returned positive results.

The ministry's CEO, Leausa Dr Take Naseri, has told the Samoa Observer that 21 out of 59 specimens sent to Tahiti showed presence of the virus, and that there may be many more.

He says so far 269 cases of the mosquito-borne disease have been detected.

However, two people who have died were confirmed by Leausa as related cases, and were found not to have chikungunya, dengue or leptospirosis.

The US Embassy told the Observer the medical team is in Samoa to help with the Small Islands Developing States Conference, which begins next week, but they are also assisting at Motootua Hospital, and in clinics at Faleolo, Poutasi, and Lufilufi.

He says there is an ongoing campaign of spraying at ports and schools, and a clean up effort to remove mosquito breeding grounds.