At least five people were killed in an outbreak of leptospirosis in the deep Pacific island nation of Fiji, a health ministry official said on Monday.
Around 160 confirmed cases of the disease have been reported from Jan. 1 to Feb. 6, the daily Fiji Times quoted Health Secretary Dr. James Fong as saying.
Leptospirosis is a blood infection disease caused by the bacteria Leptospira.
The signs and symptoms of the disease can range from none to mild – headaches, muscle pains, and fevers – to severe bleeding in the lungs or meningitis.
The health secretary said that 53 cases of typhoid and 335 cases of dengue fever were also reported during the same period.
Five people died from leptospirosis, one from dengue fever and one from typhoid.
The Health Ministry also emphasized the need to retain control of these diseases as they prepare for COVID-19 vaccinations, which are expected to begin soon, according to the daily.
“Yes, we have an outbreak,” said Dr. Fong, adding, “We have been sending teams around to educate people on reducing their risk of getting leptospirosis and more importantly to seek treatment early.”
The recent floods in the country have escalated the surge in these communicable diseases, the Health Ministry said.
Since the first case of the COVID-19 was reported on March 19 last year, Fiji has reported 56 coronavirus cases, with 54 recoveries and 2 deaths.
The island nation has reported no case in more than 300 days, while it has conducted 27,932 coronavirus tests.