9 Nov 2009

Cholera outbreak worsens in PNG's Madang

8:06 pm on 9 November 2009

The cholera outbreak in Papua New Guinea's Madang is still worsening with more than 300 people now being treated for the illness.

Cholera is a diarrheal infection caused by ingesting bacteria in water or food, and can kill healthy people within hours.

An epidemiologist with the World Health Organisation, Alexander Rosewell, says local authorities are still considering whether to declare a public health emergency as has been done in neighbouring Morobe province.

Mr Rosewell says most affected people come from a settlement just outside of Madang city.

"Approximately 320 cases have come through health facilities in Madang, they are suspected cases. In terms of laboratory confirmation, we now have ten laboratory confirmed cases from Port Moresby's laboratory, as well as 22 confirmations from laboratorys from Madang."

Alexander Rosewell says they hope to establish a longer-term special cholera treatment facility in the next few days.