Department to probe deaths in Northern

National, Normal

The National- Thursday, January 20, 2011

 THE Department of Health has not received any reports from Northern about an outbreak of a mysterious disease that has claimed several lives.

Acting executive manager for public health Lindsay Piliwas said yesterday that they were still trying to verify and confirm the reports with provincial health authorities.

Numerous attempts by The National to contact the provincial health office in Popondetta were unsuccessful as phone lines were out, including that of the hospital.

The National reported yesterday  that the mysterious disease had killed 10 people from several villages in the Upper Musa area in the Fafia local level government in the Owen Stanely Range.

The claims reported that symptoms included painful swellings from the legs then it spreads to the arms and hands, the stomach and then the head before it killed the person. 

Piliwas said the department would be conducting an investigation to determine what had caused the deaths.

He strongly advised the public that should anything like this happen in their communities, they should report it immediately to health authorities on the ground and not run to the media.

He said when people go to the media first to report such cases the public would have a bad impression that the department was not doing anything.

Piliwas appealed to everyone to communicate with their respective provincial health authorities on any health issues.

In that way, he said, the department would be able to respond accordingly. 

It was reported that people from the Middle and Lower Musa villages were extremely concerned about the mysterious disease. 

Coupled with that, the health centre  had deteriorated over the last 10 years and not  villagers from these area come all the way to Port Moresby or to Popondetta for help.