12 Apr 2006

WHO to assess reported typhoid outbreak in PNG highlands

3:38 pm on 12 April 2006

A World Health Organisation official in Papua New Guinea says the agency and the Ministry of Health will send a team to the Southern Highlands province to investigate a possible typhoid outbreak.

The newspaper, The National, says a severe typhoid outbreak in the province has affected more than 1000 people, with six confirmed deaths.

A WHO official, Dr Luo Depeng, says they have not received an official report and their information about the outbreak is solely based on the newspaper report.

He says it may not be typhoid - it could be malaria or another disease.

"We are going to work with the health office to confirm if it is typhoid. We don't know what a capacity it has and if the cases are properly diagnosed."

Dr Depeng says they will inform the population about measures to control the disease and will take antibiotics supplies with them.

He says a typhoid vaccine is not available in PNG.