Opposition Leader, Inia Seruiratu has claimed in Parliament that 7 people from Balevuto, Nukuloa, Nacaci and Toge in Ba have died due to the current waterborne disease outbreak, and he is questioning the Health Ministry what plans are in place to address this issue.
However Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong has mentioned that investigations indicate that the deaths are not related to the current outbreak.
Doctor Fong says they are also working to sort the data for the ongoing outbreak.
While responding to an urgent question by Seruiratu in parliament on the situation in Ba, Minister for Health and Medical Services, Ratu Atonio Lalabalavu said in parliament today that 60 cases have been recorded in the communities with reported symptoms of fever, abdominal pain, diarrhoea (some with blood in stool) and body pains.
Lalabalavu says 12 people were admitted to the hospital, and they were treated and later discharged.
The Minister says teams in the Ba Health Subdivision Command Centre and the Ba Subdivisional Outbreak Response Team have been tracking the reported outbreak of diarrhoeal illness from the Balevuto area.
He says the initial laboratory investigations conducted at the Lautoka Aspen Hospital indicate that the illness is likely caused by bacteria, Shigella bacteria a diarrhoeal illness.
The Minister further says the current finding indicates that the WAF water supply is not the cause of the increase in diarrhoea cases and they are awaiting chemical analysis conducted at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Koronivia Laboratory for water samples collected by the WAF team.
Lalabalavu adds the Ba subdivisional outbreak response team is continuing with the distribution of WASH kits, and purification tablets and conducting public health awareness while the Commissioner Western’s Office is working closely with the Water Authority of Fiji in the flushing and refilling of water tanks.
The Ministry of Health is concerned with an increase in the number of diarrhoea cases reported from Balevuto, Nukuloa, Nacaci and Toge.
The Ministry is advising members of the public in Balevuto and nearby areas to boil all drinking water and adhere to best hygiene practices which include proper hand washing with soap and water before and after meals and after visiting the toilet.
They are also urging members of the public to report early to their nearest health facility if they are experiencing loose and watery stools and other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, fever, headache, bloating and flatulence, abdominal cramps with a colicky pattern, stomach pains and loss of appetite.
Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations