19 Aug 2004

Study suggests leptospirosis widespread in American Samoa

10:28 am on 19 August 2004

Preliminary results of a joint survey by American Samoa health officials on the prevalence of leptospirosis shows a 15 per cent exposure rate and that the main source for the virus is pigs.

The Acting Director of the American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency, says that normal exposure rate for areas where leptospirosis occurs is 10 per cent which indicates that the territory has a high prevalence rate.

Mr Peshut stresses that people with piggeries must be willing to make changes in order to combat the spread of leptospirosis.

He says government agencies like EPA and Public Health can only advise piggery owners but it's up to them to implement the recommendations.

He says residents generally don't want the government telling them how to build or manage their piggeries.

Mr Peshut points out that in some cases, the land area cannot accommodate a properly built and managed piggery, but people have them anyway.