1 May 2006

Cholera death toll in Papua nears 200

4:03 pm on 1 May 2006

The number of deaths from a cholera outbreak in the Jayawijaya regency of Indonesia's Papua province is approaching 200.

An Indonesian Health Ministry spokesman said the death toll had reached 151 and at least 3,200 people have been affected by the cholera since March.

But on the same day, health workers put the number of deaths at around 180.

They say they have been overwhelmed by the outbreak, after treating at least 1200 people this week.

Those affected contracted the deadly bacteria after contact with hundreds of pigs who died in an outbreak last month.

The Papua Health office has urged people to stop slaughtering animals at ceremonies to prevent further spread of bacteria.

They say the death toll could be as high as 200 across two affected districts where twenty health posts have been established.

Contaminated drinking water and lack of awareness for the spread of the disease have also been blamed for the outbreak.