CHOLERA CONFIRMED IN POHNPEI; PREVENTION WORKSHOP HELD

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PALIKIR, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (May 11, 2000 – FSM Information Service)---The Micronesian Red Cross Society held a training session today focusing on training volunteers to assist Pohnpei State in educating communities on how to prevent the spread of cholera.

This comes one day after Governor Johnny David declared a state of emergency in Pohnpei because of the presence of the disease.

Red Cross Emergency and Disaster Relief Committee co-chair Amato Elymore, who conducted the workshop, stressed that cholera is easily spread through contaminated water systems, flies, ants, dirty hands, toilets that empty into the rivers, etc.

He said that all the water systems in Pohnpei, except the 24-hour water in Kolonia Town and in Palikir, must be considered unsafe.

It was also stated in the meeting that reef fish and clams at the mouth of contaminated water systems could become contaminated also.

Elymore warned against swimming in the rivers, because if people who have had diarrhea or who have been vomiting go to the river, they could contaminate the water, and people swimming in the river will become ill.

He also said that sharing soda cans, cigarettes, water cups, etc. could spread the disease.

He added that even using the bush for toilet purposes could spread the disease because flies landing on the feces will then land elsewhere, further spreading the disease.

Eight drops of Clorox or Purex or other 5 percent bleaches mixed and allowed to stand for 30 minutes in the shade in one gallon of water can be used to disinfect the water, said Elymore.

For five gallons of water, use one-half teaspoon, one teaspoon per 10 gallons and six teaspoons per 55 gallons of water.

Suspected water can also be brought to a boil and maintained at a boil for at least one minute for disinfection, according to a handout, prepared by the World Health Organization, presented by Elymore to the volunteers.

Elymore said that as of 1:00 p.m. today, 36 patients have been admitted to the hospital as cholera cases, but this number does not include those people who are carriers of the disease.

He said that a person who has been exposed to the disease could show symptoms from anywhere between three hours to five days after contamination.

Victims of cholera develop an acute, whitish diarrhea and begin to vomit. People displaying these symptoms are urged to get medical treatment as soon as possible.

 

CHOLERA CONFIRMED IN POHNPEI

PALIKIR, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (May 11, 2000 – FSM Information Service)---Although the Department of Public Health in Guam has confirmed that cholera exists in Pohnpei after testing and identifying two cases this week, travel in and out of Pohnpei has not been restricted.

Four specimens were sent to Guam for confirmation of cholera after many people had gone to the hospital with complaints of severe diarrhea and abdominal pain, the main symptoms of the disease.

As of Tuesday this week, more than 30 patients had gone to the hospital with the same symptoms, said Dr. Eliuel Pretrick. The patients admitted probably developed the disease during the last week of April. People began appearing for treatment during the beginning of May, he added.

Cholera is very infectious and easy to transmit. It is transmitted by "cholera vibriole" to the people through poor personal health hygiene such as contaminated water, food, hands, flies, etc, he said. Personal hygiene is very important to prevent spread of the disease, he added.

Staff from Public Health will be going into the community to help the people avoid or treat the disease.

"There is good medicine at the hospital, said Dr. Pretrick, who recommended that anyone with cholera symptoms report to the hospital.

Adults suffer more from this disease, he said, and he recommended that victims take plenty of fluids to replace that lost through diarrhea, because loss of fluid in the body can be fatal. He reminded everyone to exercise good personal health hygiene.

"I do not know how cholera came to Pohnpei," said Dr. Pretrick, adding, "… we did have only one case of cholera in 1983."

Six years ago there was a cholera out break in Chuuk on two occasions. Since then, there have not been any reports of cholera in Chuuk."

Dr. Pretrick recommends drinking treated or boiled water, adding, "Boil your water until it reaches boiling point and let it boil for another five minutes."

He also recommends that all toilets be improved, especially "benjos" and other outside types and be made fly-proof. Dr. Pretrick suggested that commercial fly spray be used to kill flies around the house.

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