The Fiji Ministry of Health has reported surges in some infectious diseases this year due to continued heavy rain in parts of the country, particularly the Western Division–these include dengue fever, leptospirosis and typhoid.
According to Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr. James Fong, the country has reported 1,085 lab-confirmed cases of dengue fever to date.
Dr. Fong says there were 120 new cases since the last update adding that there are outbreaks in the Western Division mainly in Nadi, Tavua, Ba.
The good news is a downward trend is being observed.
Dengue is a disease caused by a virus spread through mosquito bites. The disease can take up to 2 weeks to develop with illness generally lasting less than a week.
Health effects from dengue include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, rash, muscle and joint pain, and minor bleeding.
Dengue can become severe within a few hours. Severe dengue is a medical emergency, usually requiring hospitalization.
The health ministry also recorded 991 cases of leptospirosis with 29 deaths so far this year.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease. People (and animals) can get infected when they are exposed to the urine of infected animals. They can also get infected from water, soil, or food contaminated with infected animal urine. Leptospirosis bacteria can enter the body through skin or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth).
Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, jaundice (yellow eyes and skin), red eyes, and skin rash. Without treatment, leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, respiratory distress, and even death.
Lastly, health authorities recorded 67 lab-confirmed cases of typhoid fever this year, including five deaths.
You can get typhoid fever if you eat food or drink beverages that have been handled by a person who is shedding S. typhi or if sewage contaminated with S. typhi bacteria gets into the water you use for drinking or washing food.
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