THE number of cases of acute watery diarrhoea in Angoram, East Sepik province, has increased to 150 at the weekend since the cholera outbreak was first reported in the province two weeks ago.
These increases were confirmed by Health secretary Dr Clement Malau, East Sepik Governor Peter Wararu and head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in PNG, Dr Eigil Sorensen, who visited the affected villages and the care centre at Kambaramba 2 village on Saturday.
Kambaramba 2, which has the highest number of infected persons at 34, has a care centre while a few other cases from Kambaramba 1 and Moim villages are being handled by health workers at their homes.
At the Angoram district hospital, people from the Angoram and neighbouring villagers are also quarantined and being treated at the hospital by health workers who have been giving their undivided support and commitment since the outbreak.
Bob Kopi, a community health worker at Kambaramba 2, who raised the alarm after an old man died, said three others from the village had also died.
The other two deaths, which add to the total of six deaths, were recorded at Pinang and Moim villages further upstream.
Dr Malau said while it would be unusual for the disease to move upstream against the tide, the virus was carried upwards by people who moved from the infected area to these new areas.
Kerram local level government president, Jimmy Anis, thanked the East Sepik provincial administration and the Health Department for their quick response in delivering health care and treatment, which helped reduce the death toll.
He said while deaths could now be prevented, people would still be sick because of the presence of the virus.
Mr Anis said while the Health Department had provided them treatment and health care, they would appreciate it if the provincial government provided their with basic necessities such as tea pots for boiling drinking water, water tanks, mosquito nets, rations and fuel for medical officers and doctors to visit them daily to attend to the patients.
Mr Wararu said he would raise their concern with Angoram MP Arthur Somare and Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare.