By JEFFREY ELAPA
THREE people have been reported dead after eating a fish at the Asurumba Care Centre in the Bogia district, Madang province.
Asurumba Care Centre is one of the three care centres where the displaced Manam islanders live after the Manam volcano eruption in 2004.
Provincial cholera co-ordinator Dr Sibauk Bieb refuted claims that the deaths were cholera
Dr Beib, who also returned from the care centre, said in an interview that he had sent a team of Medecins Sans Frontieres workers ( Doctors without Borders) to investigate the claims but according to reports received the deaths were related to food poisoning after eating a fish caught from the sea.
He said the three people started having stomach ache and vomiting and they also experienced diarrhoea as a result of food poisoning and died.
Dr Bieb said he was not happy with the report aired over radio that the deaths were related to cholera.
However, he said cholera was spreading faster into five of the six districts in the province.
Dr Bieb said the total number of patients referred for treatment stands at 837 as of last Friday with new cases at Kiang Kayan village at the mouth of the Sepk River.
He said the outbreak was the result of the travel between Kayan and Kopar villagers of the Angoram district in East Sepik province, which was under quarantine by the team in East Sepik.
However, he said four people had been admitted to the cholera treatment centre in Madang with no deaths reported.
Dr Bieb said 30 people had been admitted and treated at the Gusap Cholera Treatment Unit in the Ramu Valley.
He said other outbreaks at Utu and Yagaum in the Transgogol area have also not reported any deaths.
Dr Bieb is calling on the provincial government and the six electorates to fund K716,000 each from their district improvement funds so that district task force and treatment centre could be established.
He said, so far, the provincial government had not assisted in helping to fight the epidemic.