17 Feb 2011

Fiji still needs to address underlying causes of tyhoid fever says expert

11:05 am on 17 February 2011

A communicable diseases expert in the Pacific region, Dr Jacob Kool, says Fiji still needs to address the underlying causes of typhoid fever to prevent regular outbreaks of the disease.

Fiji's Ministry of Health has confirmed at least 10 people from eight villages in the interior of Naitasiri were hospitalised as a result of the latest typhoid outbreak that's now been contained.

Dr Kool says Fiji has one of the highest rates of typhoid fever in the region and regular outbreaks seem to occur mainly in remote areas.

He says many people could cut down the risk of infection by improving sanitary conditions and ensuring they always use a clean water supply, and wash their hands regularly.

"The underlying causes really should be addressed. So there's also a lot of efforts in the way of informing people, but its always difficult to change people's behaviour."

Dr Jacob Kool says a major vaccination programme against typhoid was conducted last year in high risk outbreak areas.