Cholera triggers ban on travel

National, Normal

The National – Tuesday, November 30, 2010

MORE than 300 Papua New Guinea nationals travelling without visas have been turned away from Australia’s northern borders in the past fortnight, to help stop the spread of a cholera outbreak into Northern Australia.
More than 30 people have died from cholera on Daru Island and neighbouring communities, and there are unconfirmed reports that more than 100 villagers have died in other parts of the country.
Authorities have banned travel between PNG and the Torres Strait, which is usually allowed under a treaty.
While health authorities are adamant that` the situation has stabilised on Daru Island – the concern has shifted to the spread of the disease to mainland Australia.
The disease had quickly spread on Daru and to nearby Australia’s Cape York, due to the travelling of villagers to Daru and other islands in the mouth of the Fly River.
Taking consideration of the spread of cholera in PNG, last week, Canberra had declared that it would provide funds amounting to $500,000 to combat the water borne disease.
Also, a sum worth of A$1.7 million was granted by Australia to curb the spread of cholera characterised by diarrheal symptoms.
Cholera is a water-borne disease that occurs due to inadequate sanitation and less availability of clean water.
The disease can turn severe for 10% of the affected people.