Cholera under close watch in Daru

National, Normal


LACK of knowledge about cholera was the main factor behind the rapid spread of the disease on mainland Daru in Western, Daru General Hospital chief executive officer Dr Amos Lano said yesterday.
He said that when people first experienced cholera-like symptoms they did not know what it was and did not seek medical attention quickly which resulted in the outbreak.
Lano said by the time they went to the hospital for treatment, they were so sick that some died.
He added that when the first lot of cases was reported the medical staff suspected cholera and sent stool samples to the central public health laboratory at the Port Moresby General Hospital.
Lano said they were not surprised when the tests confirmed that it was cholera, adding that soon after a major awareness campaign was carried out about the basics of cholera and good hygiene.
He said once people were aware of cholera they took precautions and that helped in containing the spread on the island.
Lano said that the hospital had beefed up manpower to man the isolation unit which had been set up earlier while normal services were running smoothly.
He acknowledged the assistance from the Health Department, World Health Organisation, AusAID, the churches in the province and local MPs.
Lano said there were reports that the disease had spread to villages inland however, he could not confirm details about deaths and villagers infected.
Three medical teams are patrolling the south bank villages to look out for anyone with cholera like symptoms as well as carrying out awareness.