Last Updated on 2 weeks by Publishing Team
MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND MEDICAL SERVICES ADDRESSES DIARRHEA OUTBREAK IN BALEVUTO, BA
18 September 2023
The outbreak of diarrhoeal disease reported in the Balevuto Medical Area remains ongoing with 2 to 4 new cases per day reported, however, the number of people being admitted to hospital has reduced. The last reported hospital admission was on the 14th of September. A total of 24 cases were admitted to hospital from August 27th to September 14th. From the 24 admissions, 6 are still admitted.
From August 20th to 15th September 2023, 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.
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. There are pathogens that are spread through the faeces of infected persons, and which are known to cause outbreaks of acute diarrhoeal illness. Further specialized testing of patient samples will be done at a reference laboratory in Melbourne.
The Ba team 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 Health and Medical Services has four teams on the ground actively monitoring the situation, and contingency plans are in place to expedite or escalate our response if necessary. 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).
In addition to the already conducted analysis of the tap water, the Ba Medical team, continue collecting samples from alternative sources of water i.e., tanks and borehole for analysis at Fiji CDC.The team have also collected food samples for testing and are doing house visits, supplying WASH kits, purification tablets and conducting public health awareness.
Ministry of Health and Medical Services continues to work in close collaboration with partners including the Water Authority of Fiji, the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management, and Ministry of Education and wishes to assure all residents that we are committed to addressing this issue promptly and transparently to ensure the health and well-being of our communities.
We implore all residents in the outbreak and nearby areas, to prioritize good hygiene practices, including boiling all drinking water and proper handwashing with soap and water before and after meals, as well as after visiting the toilet.
We urge the public to promptly seek medical attention at their nearest health facility if they experience loose and watery stools, along with any of the following symptoms:
– Nausea (feeling like vomiting)
– Bloating and Flatulence (excess gas)
– Abdominal pain
– Loss of appetite
The Government remains committed to ensuring the safety and health of our communities, and we will continue to provide updates as the situation evolves.