21 May 2010

Port Moresby cholera taskforce says outbreak could be subsiding

3:19 pm on 21 May 2010

The controller of an emergency organisation set up to deal with cholera in Papua New Guinea's capital says an outbreak that began at the end of last month could be subsiding.

A public health emergency is in place in both Central Province and National Capital District, with the official death toll at five.

The cholera taskforce's Dr Timothy Pyakalyia says 499 people are infected but it's support from organisations such as Medicins Sans Frontieres that has prevented a more rapid spread of the disease.

"At the moment now it's slowly coming down but most of what we see is mild to moderate so people are responding quickly, because what's happening is most of these who even severe ones say 'ORS is a miracle, I was just calling today'. Now it is just a miracle solution to our problem."

Dr Timothy Pyakalyia says the most pressing need in Port Moresby now is to address the problems with water and sanitation that have allowed cholera to flourish.