23 Jul 2014

American Samoa rash puzzles

3:32 pm on 23 July 2014

Questions are being asked as to why the health department in American Samoa didn't act earlier in trying to determine the cause of an acute fever rash disease.

There are suspicions the disease, which appears to be spreading in the territory, could be linked last Friday's death of a 28 year old man.

His blood samples, along with 23 others, were sent off island for testing on Tuesday night, but it could take up to two weeks before results are known.

Our correspondent in American Samoa, Monica Miller, says questions are being asked as to why the samples weren't sent away for testing sooner.

"Because it's been almost 2 weeks now since they first noticed that there was an unusual number of people with the same symptoms, why isn't the health department acting proactively rather than just waiting around?"

Monica Miller says the samples will be tested for dengue fever, chikungunya, zika and ross river virus.

She says about 100 people have so far presented with symptoms related to the acute fever rash disease.