GABRIEL FITO and CYRIL GARE
THE number of people infected by cholera continues to rise in the Angoram district of East Sepik province after the disease was first detected last week.
The East Sepik provincial administration and health authorities are taking the necessary measures to ensure that it does not spread to other districts, including the provincial capital Wewak.
Wewak General Hospital chief executive officer Dr Louis Samiak said yesterday that the number of confirmed cases had increased from 90 to 131, but no deaths have been reported since the provincial medical team was mobilised and dispatched to Angoram last Wednesday following the outbreak at Kambaramba village.
He said there were five deaths reportedly linked to the disease last week but none had been reported since the medical team arrived and started treating those affected.
Dr Samiak said that in an attempt to control and contain the disease, health authorities have set up a care centre at Kambaramba aid post where all affected men, women and children are receiving health care and treatment from the medical team from Wewak.
According to reports reaching The National’s office in Wewak, Kambaramba 2 village recorded the highest number of cases with 111, followed by Biwat seven, Moem 13, Kambaramba 1 with one case and Timbunke and Gavien with two cases each.
Dr Samiak said the health authorities wanted those affected to be kept at the care centre and treated there instead of bringing them into Wewak, thus increasing the risk of others contracting the disease.
East Sepik provincial administrator Samson Torovi went on Radio East Sepik on Friday night to warn people not to drink water from the main Sepik River, but to boil their drinking water, wash hands and avoid roadside cooked food.
“Cholera is a water-borne disease and Angoram is river dependent. The situation is real and very serious. If we’re not careful it will spread at an unimaginable rate,” Mr Torovi said on radio.
He said that East Sepik had set up its task force to fight the disease following outbreaks in neighbouring Madang and Morobe provinces in the past few months.
Mr Torovi said the disease control team also conducted tests in some areas of Yuat LLG and Gavien rubber resettlement scheme blocks.
He said the task force had been upgraded and was into the curative stage from its previous awareness approach and was also executing preventive measures, setting up care centres and engaging in cholera containment and quarantine.