Pathogens spread through the faeces of infected persons found in people suffering from diarrhoea in Balevuto, Ba

Pathogens spread through the faeces of infected persons found in people suffering from diarrhoea in Balevuto, Ba

By Rashika Kumar
Tuesday 19/09/2023
[Image: Supplied]

The Health Ministry has confirmed pathogens that are spread through the faeces of infected persons have been found in people suffering from diarrhoea in the Balevuto, Ba area while further specialised testing of samples will be done at a reference laboratory in Melbourne.

4 people have lost their lives in Balevuto due to contaminated water while 6 people remain admitted in hospital.

The Health Ministry says the outbreak remains ongoing as 2 to 4 new cases are being reported per day, however, the number of people being admitted to hospital has reduced.

They say the last reported hospital admission was on the 14th of September where a total of 24 cases were admitted from August 27th to September 14th.

The Ministry says from August 20th to 15th September, 96 cases of diarrhoeal illness presenting with loose bowel motions, with or without blood in stool, with fever, abdominal pain or vomiting were reported in the Balevuto Medical Area, including in Nukuloa, Balevuto, Nacaci, Toge, Vatusui, Tabataba, Naruku, Talaiya, and Moto.

They say apart from the one suspected case that has tested positive for Shigella sonnei, 2 more cases have tested positive for the bacteria eonteropathogenic E.Coli and 2 cases tested positive for the parasite Entamoeba histolytica.

They say chemical analysis of tap water from the water supply scheme providing tap water to over 6,000 residents conducted by Koronivia Research Station shows all chemicals are within the normal range for drinking water standards (USAEPA Drinking Water Standards, 2018; WHO Drinking Water Standards 2019 Guidelines).

viber-image-2023-09-18-18-59-27-514

The Ministry says teams in Ba are working on ensuring there is community wide close follow up of patients with chronic underlying disease, and the elderly, to ensure ongoing wellbeing, as these are the groups of people more at risk of falling ill and developing severe disease during this outbreak.

The Ministry of Health has four teams on the ground actively monitoring the situation, and contingency plans are in place to expedite or escalate their response if necessary.

They say in addition to the already conducted analysis of the tap water, the Ba Medical team continues to collect samples from alternative sources of water that include tanks and boreholes for analysis at Fiji Centre for Disease Control.

The team has also collected food samples for testing and are doing house visits, supplying WASH kits, purification tablets and conducting public health awareness.

Ministry of Health has reassured the residents and says they are committed to addressing this issue promptly and transparently to ensure the health and well-being of the communities.

They are imploring all residents in the outbreak and nearby areas, to prioritise good hygiene practices, including boiling all drinking water and proper hand washing with soap and water before and after meals, as well as after visiting the toilet.

Promptly seek medical attention at their nearest health facility if they experience loose and watery stools, nausea (feeling like vomiting), vomiting, fever, headaches, bloating and flatulence (excess gas), abdominal pain and loss of appetite.

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