MORE than 190 people have been affected by acute watery dysentery while another eight people, including a child, have been confirmed infected with cholera in Madang province.
Provincial health coordinator, Markus Katchau, yesterday declared a dysentery and cholera outbreak in the province during a press conference attended by provincial health authorities and partners.
Mr Katchau said that out of the 15 stool samples sent for laboratory testing, eight of the samples had presumptive evidence of cholera.
He said he had also received reports that 17 people in the Usino-Bundi electorate were admitted and treated at different health facilities in the district, while other districts in the province were taking precautionary
He said that 14 people believed to be students at Brahman High School in the Usino-Bundi electorate had been diagnosed with acute watery dysentery while another three were also diagnosed at Sausi sub-health centre. He said one of them died while another was referred to Lae’s Angau Hospital.
Present at yesterday’s press conference were Modilon Hospital chief executive officer Sr Christine Gawa, Dr Sibauk Bieb and Dr Vincent Atua from the Modilon Hospital, epidemiologist and WHO representative Alexander Rosewell, Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) representative Isabel Weese, and Paul Mabong and Mr Katchau from the provincial health office. Mr Katchau said Modilon Hospital staff members led by Dr Vincent Atua had done a great job in treating the patients and monitoring the situation since the dysentery outbreak at Humade and Finch Compound in the Sisiak area.
The two settlements are located a few kilometres away from the New Town residential areas, which face a severe problem with water supply and sanitation.
Dr Bieb said an old man had died several days earlier due to dehydration, but that was prior to the actual outbreak of cholera and dysentery.
Dr Atua, from the outpatient ward, who is taking charge of the case together with Dr Bieb, said that there were on average 10 admissions every day, mostly people from the specific settlement.
Madang province still does not have a cholera treatment centre and the outpatient department at Modilon Hospital is being used as the care and treatment centre while minor outpatient cases are being referred to other health centres.
Mr Rosewell said WHO was ready to assist with clinical management, surveillance and water and sanitation projects while MSF would be focusing on the clinical aspects.
The PNG Red Cross has donated K10,000 for the outbreak and Mr Katchau appealed for funds from the Government to contain the situation.
It is believed that the provincial health office will ask the National Government to declare a heath emergency in the province.
Meanwhile, a suspected cholera case reportedly found in Port Moresby last Friday has been confirmed as negative, after tests were done later that day, the National Health Command Centre confirmed yesterday.
Health secretary Dr Clement Malau had gone on radio last Friday morning to announce that a suspected case had been found at Moitaka.
The command centre said yesterday afternoon the case had been tested later that day and found to be the normal diarrhoea.
Dr Malau and other health officials could not be contacted for further information last night.