Leptospirosis outbreak in Central, West Fiji as death toll jumps to 19

Hospital admissions and deaths from leptospirosis in Fiji have increased to 76, and 19 respectively, with the majority, reported in the West.

Of the total hospital admissions and deaths, the West reported 63 admissions, nine of whom were admitted in intensive care over the weekend, and 16 deaths.

In the Central division, four are admitted to hospital, and one reported death, while in the North, cases stand at nine and two deaths.

Meanwhile, five of 19 deaths were reported within the last five days – four in the West and one in the North. Four of the five who died were aged between 20 and 40 years, consistent with clinical and epidemiological data that indicate that males and young adults aged 20-49 years are most at risk.

As previously reported, delay in accessing care has been noted to contribute significantly to these adverse outcomes, Permanent Secretary Health Dr James Fong said.

While reported cases are prevalent among young iTaukei males, the Ministry of Health warns that the disease infects anyone as the risk is mediated by greater occupational and recreational exposure to animals, soil, mud, and water.

“Of particular note is the playing of sports on muddy flood-affected grounds. Other risk factors include farming, working outdoors or in abattoirs; living in households that have rats living nearby; raising pigs at home, or the presence of pigs in the community.”

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