The National, Thursday July 4th, 2013
MEDICAL tests carried out recently in logging camps and communities in the West Pomio-Mamusi area of Pomio, East New Britain, have ruled out dengue fever as the cause of two deaths.
A medical team led by provincial health adviser Nick Larme, Dr Danny Toti and Francis Soli from Nonga Base Hospital, and Johnson Peter, from Health Quarantine, visited Palmalmal on June 21 to investigate two deaths and two referrals – all from unconfirmed causes. The team involved Pomio district health staff.
A statement, from the provincial administration yesterday, said the visit was in response to reports of two deaths and two referrals from what was suspected to be dengue fever in the logging camps in the West Pomio-Mamusi local level government, a temporary ban on movement into and out of the camps was imposed immediately.
Using dengue rapid diagnostic test kits, the team collected random blood samples from employees at the camp sites as the “case contact point” with a radius of 200m to include nearby villages.
“This standard practice was followed to eliminate cross transmission as well as to identify likely range of focus in the event that dengue was confirmed and to draw up appropriate strategies,” Larme said.
Results were confirmed on site, with all 26 samples collected and tested for both malaria and dengue fever being negative.
Acting provincial administrator Wilson Matava welcomed the news as there had been general panic in the community.
“This exercise was important as the origin of most workers in the camps were from dengue-prone countries, especially in the South-East Asia region and based on the positive results the ban was uplifted immediately following completion of the investigation and camp operation resumed,” Matava said.
The medical investigation was part of a clinical component of the province’s dengue contingency plan that was drawn up under a provincial committee.
Matava said blood samples would be sent up to the PNG Institute of Medical Research for further tests to find out whether there was an actual dengue infection/incursion into the area.
He said dengue has four types and confirming the sero type was critical to planning an effective clinical treatment programme.