Fiji reports five leptospirosis deaths; high hospital admissions and deaths in the West

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Ministry of Health and Medical Services permanent secretary Dr James Fong. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU/FT FILE

Five leptospirosis deaths have been reported as Fiji’s health ministry confirms an outbreak of this climate-sensitive disease in the Western and Central divisions, and an increasing trend noted in the North.

The deaths were reported since the last update on February 16.

Ministry of Health and Medical Services permanent secretary Dr James Fong said four of those deaths were from the Western Division – Bukuya, Tavua and Rakliraki, and one in the Northern Division.

He said three of the deceased persons were in their 20s, one in the 30s and the other in the 50s.

This year, there have been 19 deaths nationally – 16 in the West, one in the Central Division, and two in the Northern Division.

Meanwhile, Dr Fong says most of the leptospirosis cases are from the West, with Lautoka Hospital recording 63 hospital admissions.

He said of those admissions, 39 cases were admitted to sub-divisional hospitals and 24 cases in Lautoka hospital.

“Even more concerning is that we had 12 admissions to Lautoka hospital over the weekend of which nine were admissions to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU),” Dr Fong said.

“We also have a smaller leptospirosis outbreak in the Central Division with four admissions to the hospital, and none of these current admissions needing ICU care.

“Labasa hospital has currently had nine admissions for leptospirosis.”

Dr Fong reiterated that the delay in accessing care had been noted to contribute significantly to the adverse outcomes.