28 May 2010

Fiji typhoid outbreak claims three lives

3:46 pm on 28 May 2010

Three people, including two children, are dead and up to one hundred are sick with typhoid fever in Fiji.

A State of Public Health Emergency has been declared.

The Deputy Secretary for Public Health, Dr Jo Koroivueta, confirmed the three have died within the past five days in the Western Division area of Navosa.

He says the affected area is in the highlands of Viti Levu, posing difficulties to deliver antibiotic treatment and vaccines.

"We are going to mass vaccinate the population with the typhoid vaccine. We have the vaccine already in the country. And right now we are putting together teams that are going to undertake the vaccination for the whole community, the whole province."

Dr Koroivueta says a decision will be made next week about using helicopters to transport supplies and medical help if necessary.

He says schools have not been closed at this stage but hospitality workers have been warned to be diligent with handwashing and food handling.