Health Ministry confirms Leptospirosis cases

Vanuatu’s Ministry of Health confirms four cases of Leptospirosis.

The Sanma Public Health Manager Vanua Sikon says two of the cases have been recorded by the Northern District Hospital while two others were recorded by the Vila Central Hospital.

Leptospirosis, a relatively rare bacterial infection can result in high fever, internal bleeding and organ failure. Globally it normally occurs after heavy rainfall and flooding when humans can become infected after exposure to water or soil contaminated with animal urine or other fluids.

The Public Health Manager says reported cases were identified in areas where there are poor hygienic practices like no proper cleaning or washing of kitchen utensils and poor management of outdoor animals such as pigs.

The Health Ministry says Leptospirosis can occur after heavy rains and flooding.

Mr Sikon says there are many factors that contributes to the cause of Leptospirosis after the cyclone. One of the causes is the damaged done to water sources and water contamination after the cyclone. Another is the damaged done to its agent’s environment, agents such as rats or outdoor animals like pigs that can help spread the bacteria to humans.

Mr Sikon says therefore it is important to practise good hygiene. People in identified areas must always wash kitchen utensils with soap and water or hot water before use, or wash away rat’s urine on their kitchen utensils.

Mr Sikon says people must always wash raw greens or vegetables before consumption.

He says they are closely monitoring the disease in the identified areas.

The Health Manager says Vanuatu has had some Leptospirosis cases in the past. The disease is communicable. It can pass from an infected person to another if the infected person does not wash their hands properly with soap and running water before shaking hands with a healthy person.

Mr Sikon says any age group can be infected with Leptospirosis if they don’t practise good hygiene. However, Leptospirosis can be treated because it is a bacterial infection.

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