The Ministry of Health in the Balevuto Medical Area in Ba is recording two to four cases a day of the diarrhoeal disease, as the outbreak persists.
In the statement, the Permanent Secretary for Health Dr James Fong said the number of people being admitted to hospital have been reduced – the last reported case was last week.
Dr Fong said since last week, there have been 24 admissions. Six are still admitted.
He said between August 20 and September 15, 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 specialised testing of patient samples will be done at a reference laboratory in Melbourne.”
Dr Fong said a team is working on ensuring there are community wide follow-ups of patients with chronic underlying disease and the elderly, to ensure ongoing wellbeing.
The Ministry of Health 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 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),” Dr Fong said.