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Cholera epidemic spreads in Papua New Guinea

Rigo, Central Province of Papua New Guinea, hit by cholera in the latest 2009-2010 epidemic
(Peter Korugl/IRIN)

Cholera has spread to the coastal town of Daru in Papua New Guinea (PNG)'s Western Province - close to Australia - claiming 16 lives and hospitalizing hundreds, according to the National Department of Health.

On 11 November, the government confirmed a cholera outbreak in Daru; 300 people have been treated in hospital since the first case was reported there at end-October. The Health Department's acting secretary, Paul Dopsie, said treated cases were "under control" in Daru and surrounding villages. Additional medical supplies and staff are en route to Daru.

The outbreak has hit a town with no reliable water supply where most of the 20,000 residents use bucket toilets. While the spread of cholera abated earlier this year, authorities fear it has picked up again due to unhygienic conditions in coastal villages and are appealing to affected communities to clean their homes, safely discharge rubbish, boil drinking water and improve hand hygiene.

Since the first cholera case was reported August 2009 in PNG's Morobe Province on the northern coast, more than 4,351 cases and 83 deaths have been confirmed nationwide - a 2 percent fatality rate - according to the government.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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