14 May 2014

Amoebic dysentery outbreak in American Samoa

6:10 pm on 14 May 2014

Health officials in American Samoa are warning the public about an amoebic dysentery outbreak which has so far affected 26 people, half of which have been admitted to the LBJ hospital.

Amoebic dysentery is an infection in the bowels and in extreme cases can be fatal.

A Pacific Island Health Officers' Association Epidemiologist, Mark Duran, says the department of health is leading an investigation into the source of the parasite.

Dr Duran says amoebic dysentery is spread through contamination of human waste.

"It especially attacks the intestines and kind of eats its way into the wall of the intestines; it causes abdominal pain, it causes bloody diarrhea, fever."

Dr Duran says in serious cases the parasite can travel through the body and cause abscesses in the liver and brain.

He says it's important people wash their hands after going to the bathroom.