20 Nov 2009

PNG health officials concerned by spread of cholera

6:46 pm on 20 November 2009

National health administrators in Papua New Guinea say the spread of cholera is a very major concern.

The disease has spread to East Sepik province where it's claimed five lives and infected 90 others.

It spread to neighbouring Madang about a month ago, after earlier being detected in Morobe.

The Secretary of the Department of Health in PNG Dr Clement Malau says there are very serious concerns for East Sepik as the people depend on surrounding waters which may be contaminated.

"The setting is you've got a delta; vast areas of water, like the Sepik River is a big river up in the North part of the country. If a river system is contaminated then we are terribly worried that it might spread to populations living among the river."

Dr Malau says provincial health administrators have been told to activiate a provincial disaster committee to tackle the outbreak.