The health ministry of Fiji has issued a ban on public gatherings in the province of Bua due to an outbreak of typhoid. It has been reported that since January, 41 cases were recorded in Bua, in the northern island of Vanua Levu, with many concentrated in small villages. Fiji's main island of Viti Levu bore the brunt of a major Typhoid outbreak this time last year. At this stage, there have only been isolated cases.
In a bid to prevent the outbreak from spreading, the health ministry has imposed a temporary ban on public gatherings. Health ministry spokesman Peni Namuto has blamed the outbreak on lack of communication in remote areas. “These are the people that do not have access to television…This is one of the mediums we are using to create awareness [for] people and also educating them on the symptoms,” he explained. He says public health officers have been deployed to affected areas.
“We're expecting a decline in the number of cases, because we have not only mobilized our health officials into the area, but also with the public health emergency in place, it will actually help contain the spread of typhoid,” he added.
Fiji's deputy secretary for public health, Dr Josefa Koroivueta, expressed disappointment over the lack of support received from certain villages in the province for bans on drinking kava and other activities.
Typhoid fever is an acute illness caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria. The bacteria are deposited in water or food by a human carrier and then spread to other people in the area. It leads to high fever and severe weakness.