26 Apr 2012

After Fiji floods, leptospirosis claims seven lives

7:16 pm on 26 April 2012

Health officials in Fiji say seven people have died from leptospirosis since January and it's feared the disease was a factor in another 13 deaths.

The National advisor for Communicable Diseases says the government is intensifying efforts to control dengue fever and typhoid but leptospirosis is a key target.

Dr Mike Kama says 279 people have contracted leptospirosis since the January floods and 85 per cent of these are from the Western Division.

Dr Kama says leptospirosis is the most deadly of three communicable diseases plaguing the area after the floods.

"Altogether 20 suspected lepto' deaths, but seven of them confirmed, thirteen remain suspected but they've already been tested but they are negative. So we're sending them off again just to find out you know whether there's any other cause and if it's related to floods, so we're looking at other causes of deaths due to floods, not just focussed on leptospirosis itself."

Dr Karma says those who died were adults, many of them farm workers.

He says there have been no deaths from dengue fever or typhoid.