Health Director assuages typhoid fears

By Sarafina Sanerivi ,

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Leausa Dr. Take Naseri.

Leausa Dr. Take Naseri. (Photo: Samoa Observer / File)

The Director General of the Ministry of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, has assured the nation there is no outbreak of typhoid in Samoa. 

The assurance from Leausa is in response to fears following the outbreak of typhoid in Auckland New Zealand among members of the Samoan community there.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Leausa said the Ministry of Health has not had any official communication with Health officials in New Zealand. 

“The only information we have gathered is from the New Zealand media where it states that one Samoan woman has died in a Auckland hospital due to typhoid,” he said.

“There is a current outbreak of typhoid in Auckland NZ as reported by the media.

“No details were given but from what the Auckland public health officials are saying through the media is that they feel it is a local (Auckland) outbreak.”

Leausa said they have written to the New Zealand I.H.R. Focal Point for details on the deceased woman, but they have yet to receive any information.

“We haven’t seen any reports on the deceased travel history or any documentation of her travel to Samoa before we can link it to contracting typhoid while here in Samoa. 

“Even now we don’t have a name to start off with. 

“So we need more facts before we can comment whether she got the disease while travelling to Samoa or to another place.”

So far, Leausa said there is no formal warning for Samoa on the outbreak in New Zealand. 

“But they will inform us as usual if they know the index case is from Samoa.”

Leausa also used the opportunity to advise Samoan people travelling to New Zealand especially to the affected areas where the outbreak has occurred to be alert. 

“Those who have been treated were from Mt Roskill, Manurewa and Blockhouse Bay, at this stage.

“We are not sure of the scope of the outbreak so extra precaution should be exercised when travelling to these affected areas.

“Basic hand washing, good personal hygiene, drinking clean & safe water is the best prevention & protection.

“Typhoid was spread primarily through water and food but could be spread person to person.”

He went on to say that Typhoid is a serious illness and it is potentially fatal. 

“But it can be treated with antibiotics,” said Leausa.

“Symptoms include a high fever developing over several days, headaches, general weakness and muscle aches. Stomach pain and constipation are also common (particularly in children), but some people get diarrhea.”

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