1 Sep 2010

Mystery disease in PNG is suspected to be typhoid

8:29 am on 1 September 2010

The unknown disease which claimed 13 lives in a remote area of Papua New Guinea's Western Province, is suspected to be Typhoid.

The deaths, reported three weeks ago to authorities, were in the Murray Valley area, which borders three provinces and consists of eight villages with a total population of three-thousand.

A medical team was sent to the area to investigate and collect samples, which are still being analysed by the Central Health Public Laboratory.

Dr Pison Dakulala from PNG's Department of Health says while nothing's been confirmed, it looks like they died of typhoid.

"The story that we get from ground level information is that this is diarrhea disease with blood, dysentery and so we are going through the process of confirming what it is. Our current thinking is that this could be typhoid but of cause there are many other causes of dysentery."

Dr Pison Dakulala says while they still don't know the ages or genders of those who died, no other deaths have been reported in the area.