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PALIKIR, Pohnpei, FSM (June 22, 2000 – FSM Information Service)---The cholera epidemic shows no indication of diminishing on Pohnpei, according to Dr. Eliuel Pretrick, Secretary of the FSM Department of Health, Education, and Social Services.

Pretrick made the statement during a recent meeting of the FSM President’s Cabinet.

According to the Secretary, Pohnpei has had 1,363 cases of suspected cholera. Of these cases, nine people have died.

According to the Secretary’s report, 638 patients suspected of suffering from cholera reported to the Pohnpei State emergency room since April 17; 345 were admitted, and 404 were treated at dispensaries around the island. (Some of the statistics represent people treated more than once.)

The Secretary said that the new cases seem to follow where large gatherings occur.

Pohnpei State Hospital now has a laboratory consultant who has been conducting training so that hospital personnel can more effectively identify the incidence of cholera from specimens collected throughout the state, said the Secretary. He added that further confirmation is done on Guam.

Also, two consultants -- one from the World Health Organization and another from the South Pacific Community -- are providing assistance. They have been asked to evaluate the Pohnpei situation and to issue a report.

The Secretary said that people on Pohnpei are still required to take medicine, at their own expense, prior to traveling to Chuuk or Kosrae.

In related news, the FSM Congress passed an $80,000 budget item for cholera related costs when it approved the supplemental budget last week.

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