The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (the MHMS) is providing an update regarding the tragic deaths of two United States citizens (Mr David Paul, 37; Mrs Michelle Calanog Paul, 35) who arrived in Fiji on Wednesday the 22nd of May.
The investigation into the cause of the deaths is still underway. MHMS considers this investigation a priority and is continuing to collaborate with the US Embassy in Fiji and to work closely with the Fiji Police Force’s forensics department, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United States’ Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The five staff placed under observation in hospital as a precautionary measure have been released and are in good health. They are being followed up at their homes by Ministry of Health staff as a matter of precaution. All other people who had contact with the deceased couple during their illness remain well. This is supportive of the assessment that there is no evidence of risk to the public.
The Ministry remains the only authoritative source for information with regard to this issue. The Ministry will continue to provide regular updates any new information. In the meantime, people should continue their lives as usual, take care of their health and seek medical attention if they feel ill, as they normally would.
Results of the investigation may take weeks, possibly longer. At this stage, for reasons of patient confidentiality, and out of respect to the families of Mr and Mrs Paul during this difficult time, the MHMS and its partners involved in the investigation will not comment on specific details of the investigation.
The families of Mr and Mrs Paul remain in our thoughts and prayers as we continue to investigate.
In response to interest from the media, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services is clarifying details regarding the tragic deaths of two United States citizens (Mr David Paul, 37; Mrs Michelle Calanog Paul, 35) who arrived in Fiji on Wednesday the 22nd of May.
Investigations into the cause of death are ongoing. Influenza has been ruled out, and at this stage we do not believe there is any risk to the public. It would be premature to speculate further on the cause of death until the investigation is complete.
Monitoring of the small number of staff and health workers who came into close contact with the deceased couple was conducted, and as a precaution remains ongoing. All are currently well.
The Ministry is coordinating with the US Embassy in Fiji and working closely with the Fiji Police Force’s forensics department, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine the cause of death, with these organizations providing technical support.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of this young couple at this difficult time.
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) continues to monitor communicable diseases such as leptospirosis, typhoid, dengue fever and influenza in the country. In recent weeks with the adverse weather conditions, the respective authorities have placed emphasis on the surveillance of communicable disease, early detection, management and public health response measures.
The MHMS declared an outbreak of leptospirosis for the Central on Tuesday the 29th of January this year. The Central Division has since reported a total of 8 leptospirosis deaths during this outbreak period with the first 5 deaths occurring between the months of January to April of this year. The recent 3 deaths occurred shortly after the bad weather that was experienced over Easter.
In light of this the public has been urged to prevent themselves from getting leptospirosis. This includes practices such as not swimming in flooded waters after heavy rainfall, wearing closed shoes when working on farms and flooded waters and following good sanitation and hygiene practices such as thoroughly washing utensils and food before use and storing food safely away from rats and other rodents.
Members of the public are also reminded that communicable diseases are preventable and people should adhere to the messages relayed to them by MHMS which includes simple health habits such as proper hand washing practices after the use of toilets and before eating, boiling unsafe water before drinking, avoid swimming in flooded waters as well as destroying mosquito breeding sites.
The combined effort of the health authorities and the general public in advocating safe health practices and maintaining clean environments is expected to minimize the risks of the sources of such diseases and assist them in their efforts to reduce the spread of communicable diseases.
People are therefore advised to seek medical attention early to minimize the risks of developing complications as usually patients present late to health facilities with advanced stages of these diseases.