21 Jun 2010

PNG cholera outbreak in Central Province contained for now

5:35 pm on 21 June 2010

The man overseeing the response to a cholera emergency in Papua New Guinea's Central Province says the outbreak is now under control.

Raphael Yipmaramba says there've been six deaths and nearly eighteen-hundred cases reported to health authorities in the province since the disease struck there about six weeks ago.

Cholera had earlier hit nearby Port Moresby, after striking the north coast provinces last year.

Mr Yipmaramba says the daily number of new cholera cases in Central Province has declined from 30 to five and the authorities are now addressing cultural factors contributing to the spread of the disease.

"Our Melanesian culture is that when a person dies people go and hug them and you know sleep on top of them and cry and then they bury them so that is how the disease is spreading very fast"

Mr Yipmaramba says authorities are also distributing pamphlets to spread the message about boiling water, cooking food properly, and recommending that villages build latrines.