Medical Team Probing Unidentified Viral Outbreak In PNG

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Hundreds in East New Britain report malaria-like symptoms

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 13, 2012) – A medical research team in Papua New Guinea is investigating the cause of viral infections affecting hundreds of people in East New Britain.

The Post Courier reports the East New Britain Provincial Health Advisor, Nicholas Larme, as saying the outbreak is not malaria but the symptoms are similar and include high fever, vomiting, rashes, and joint and muscle aches.

The paper says hundreds of people have been going to health centers and hospitals in recent weeks complaining of these symptoms.

Mr. Larme says some of the victims have been bed-ridden and needed assistance from family to get to the medical centers, but he says there have been no deaths.

Meanwhile, moves are underway to improve the availability of health services by bringing experienced workers out of retirement, extending the operating hours of the hospitals and stocking up on medical supplies.

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