26 Nov 2010

PNG cholera outbreak reaches Gulf Province leaving six dead

8:14 am on 26 November 2010

The latest outbreak of cholera in Papua New Guinea is spreading, with the Post Courier newspaper saying six people have died in Gulf province in recent days.

This follows confirmation that at least 30 have died in neighbouring Western Province, though local reports puts the numbers at over 100.

Last year dozens of lives were claimed in the country's northern provinces after cholera re-appeared for the first time in 50 years.

Earlier this year Port Moresby was hit, but these earlier outbreaks, put down to poor sanitation and hygiene, were brought under control by a major campaign involving government agencies, aid donors and NGOs.

A similar exercise is underway in the southern provinces but the health department has been criticised for not doing enough.

Gulf MP and cabinet minister, Mark Maipakai, has told local media he's disgusted at the slow response.