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Authorities trying to find out why

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, October 19, 2009) – The number of cholera cases in Lae, Morobe Province, has risen suddenly since last Thursday as authorities try to establish the cause and respond accordingly.

Morobe Provincial health adviser Dr Likei Theo confirmed that 12 people reported to Angau hospital with cholera on that day .

He said this was a big increase because no cases are usually reported in a day or sometimes there was only one for over a period of more than two weeks in the previous weeks.

Yesterday staff manning the command centre confirmed the figure for Thursday as 12 and also reported that there were more in the following days, but the figures would be released later by Dr Theo and his team after they had confirmed the figures with the hospital.

They added that two people reported to Angau yesterday morning with more calling to be picked up and brought to the hospital by the ambulance assigned specifically for people suspected of cholera.

Dr Theo was in a meeting with the rest of the cholera task force members overseeing the state of emergency declared by the Government recently in response to the cholera and dysentery outbreaks in Morobe Province.

Health Minister Sasa Zibe could not be reached for comment as well, but this newspaper was informed by the command centre staff that he was in Lae, meeting with Dr Theo and the provincial administrator Kemas Tomala and his deputy and other members of the cholera task force.

He is also reportedly concerned about the sudden rise in cases of cholera after the figures had dropped dramatically for over two weeks .

Post-Courier was informed that the new cases of cholera are all from Lae, Papua New Guinea’s second largest city. When Dr Theo last week expressedconcern that the increase in cholera cases showed that people had dropped their guard and had gone back to their poor hygienic habit.

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