Mystery disease kills 10 in Northern

National, Normal

The National- Wednesday, January 19, 2011

 TEN people have died reportedly from an unknown disease in remote villages along the Owen Stanley Range in Northern.

This has caused panic and a health concern among other villagers and nearby areas as the disease causes extreme swelling to various parts of the body then they die.

Public servants, who live in Port Moresby, were recently in these villages for the Christmas and New Year festive season and witnessed this.

Located in the Fafia local level government of Musa, 10 villagers in Upper Musa along the two main rivers had contracted the disease, causing the Middle and Lower Musa people to fear for their lives because of the risk of infection.

The symptoms include painful swellings from the legs, then it spreads to the arms and hands, the stomach and then the head before it kills the person.

Musa villagers are concerned because there was a lack of medical personnel to attend to those affected.

“The health facilities, such as the buildings are there, they are rundown.  

“They have been I that state for the past 12 or so years,” one public servant said.

He said because of this, and the lack of drugs, there were no health workers around.

Leaders in Middle and Lower Musa villages are now requesting officials from the provincial and national health authorities to investigate.

They are fearful that the disease may be water-borne as they are located downstream from the affected area, and that the water may be contaminated with bacteria.

The source said the inability to get medical assistance to these people was a case of negligence and ignorance by the provincial government.

“This also applies  to other basic services such as setting up and running a school in this area”.