Minister for Health Dr Antonio Lalabalavu today confirmed that a total of 61 cases of diarrhea have been reported in the Balevuto Medical Area.
Speaking in Parliament, Dr Lalabalavu said 31 cases were reported last week and 30 in the previous week.
He said a taskforce has been tracking the reported outbreak and initial laboratory investigation conducted indicate that the illness is likely caused by bacteria, specifically the ‘Shigella’ bacteria, known to cause diarrhoeal illness.
However the Ministry is waiting on confirmatory results on the specific bacteria.
Dr Lalabalavu said health officers from the Department of Environment have also carried out environmental and water sources investigations which include inspections and collecting water samples which have been sent to the Fiji CDC labs in Suva for further testing.
“The results of the water test results show that the WAF supplied water from the taps of the households sampled are free of bacterial contaminants. Current findings indicate that the WAF water supply is not the cause of the increase in diarrhoea cases.”
The Minister highlighted that misinformation has been a serious factor, derailing vital health messages and response actions in the community.
“I ask members of the communities to refrain from engaging in misinformation, as such actions can dissuade those who are at risk or affected from taking appropriate health response action to stop the spread of diseases and protect their communities.”
“The Ministry is continuing to prioritise its effort to ensure that our communities and families have access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene in its annual plan of actions,” he added.