Disease claims 10 in Oro village

National, Normal

The National- Wednesday, January 26, 2011

 HEALTH authorities in Northern are planning to send a medical team into the Fafia LLG area along the Owen Stanely Range to investigate reports of an outbreak of a mysterious disease that has already claimed 10 lives.

It was reported last week that 10 people from the upper Musa village in the Fafia LLG died from a mysterious disease. 

A senior public servant, who hails from that area, reported this to the media after returning from holidays. 

He said the people who died experienced painful swellings in the legs which spread to the arms and hands, the stomach and then to the head before killing the person.

There was no way of knowing what could have caused the deaths because there were no health workers present in that area and the health facilities have deteriorated over the past 10 years, the officer said.

News of the outbreak had caused fear among the middle and lower Musa villages.

Provincial health adviser Copeland Ihove said yesterday that the provincial disease controller was gathering logistics for the team to travel into that area.

He said due to the remoteness of the village, the fastest way to get there was by helicopter to Jari village then the teams would break up into two and head into the village that was reportedly affected.

Ihove said they were looking at hiring a helicopter from a company in Port Moresby to airlift the team into the area.

“People from that area who have come into town (Popondetta) said they heard about it but do not know what that disease is.”

Health Department’s acting executive manager-public health Lindsay Piliwas said they were still trying to get in touch with the people in Fafia.

He said it was important that they investigate to find out what had caused the deaths.