Health remains ‘mum’ on disease

By Lanuola Tusani Tupufia ,

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DIRECTOR OF HEALTH: Leausa Take Naseri

DIRECTOR OF HEALTH: Leausa Take Naseri

The Ministry of Health has again called a press conference that was scheduled for last week to respond to concerns about a potentially deadly disease in the country.

On Thursday the Ministry called a press conference around 4pm and 20 minutes before that time the meeting was cancelled until Friday. 

It was again cancelled on Friday “until further notice”. 

There was no explanation provided about the cancelation. 

Contacted for an explanation, the secretary for the Director of Health, Leausa Take Naseri said she was unaware of why the meeting with the media was called off. 

When asked if Leausa was available for comments, she said he wasn’t.

The media was alerted about warnings of the deadly disease spread through urine of infected animals in a public notice signed by M.O.H. Acting Chief Executive Officer, Frances Brebner. 

“The Ministry of Health wishes to warn the public of an infectious disease spread through the urine of infected animals which carry these bacteria,” it read. 

“These animals include pigs, cats, dogs and rodents such as rats. The disease may lead to death.”

According to the Ministry, humans can become infected through contact with water, soil or food contaminated with the urine of infected animals.

“It is advised that the public take preventive measures to minimize the risks of becoming infected by;  

 • Keeping all food and water for consumption covered securely to prevent risks of contamination.

• Ensuring that protective clothing, gloves and foot ware are always worn by those exposed to risks of infection through contaminated water or soil.

• Washing hands with soap and water before preparing food and after working outside.

• Ensuring that all drinking water is boiled.

• Avoiding swimming in rivers or areas where recent flooding has occurred.

• Ensuring proper rubbish and waste water disposal to avoid rat and other rodent infestations.”

In a previous interview, Dr. Saine Va’ai confirmed that there are already cases where people have been diagnosed with the disease.

She declined to give any further details adding that the Ministry would call a press conference to explain more.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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