98 Cases, Four Deaths From Leptospirosis

The Health Ministry in January had declared an outbreak of leptospirosis for the Central Division.
09 Feb 2019 10:30
98 Cases, Four Deaths From Leptospirosis
Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete.

The Ministry of  Health has recorded 98 cases of Leptospirosis from January 1 till last week.

This was confirmed by the Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete yesterday.

The Health Ministry in January had declared an outbreak of leptospirosis for the Central Division.

The majority of cases have been in the one to 19 years and 20 to 29 age groups. There have been four deaths from leptospirosis in the Central Division so far this year.

Dr Waqainabete said the death toll remained the same.

“The cases have resulted in the bad weather we have been facing and people need to ensure that they check the symptoms and go to the hospitals,” he said.

“All our hospitals and health centres are operational 24 hours to check on the victims suffering from Leptospirosis.”

Leptospirosis is a disease caused by bacteria that affects humans and animals.

Humans get leptospirosis through contact with the urine of infected animals. This often happens through contact with mud, water or food contaminated with the urine of infected animals.

People who work with animals (e.g. farmers) are at higher risk of getting this disease. However, the current outbreak in the Central Division is also affecting people who do non-animal related work.

Recent heavy rains and flooding are likely to have contributed to the increase in cases in the Central Division.

Animals that may spread the disease through their infected urine include rats, dogs, cats, cattle, pigs, horses and mongooses.

Please visit the nearest healthcare facility if you have symptoms of this disease.

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.

Early treatment with antibiotics administered by a doctor is key to preventing complications and deaths.


You can prevent getting leptospirosis by avoiding contact with the urine of infected animals. This includes:

  • Avoiding wading/swimming in waters that may be contaminated with animal urine, especially flood waters.
  • Wearing protective clothing and footwear when working with livestock.
  • Separating households from livestock e.g. through the use of fences/pens.

Regular household cleaning

  • Getting rid of rats in the household.
  • Keeping your food and eating/cooking utensils away from rats and pets.
  • Washing fruits and vegetables.
  • What is the ministry doing?

Medical officers in the Central Division have been alerted on the outbreak of leptospirosis in order to encourage early recognition, treatment and referral of cases as required.

Fiji’s Leptospirosis Clinical Guidelines have been redistributed to all medical officers in the Central Division, and refresher training on the guidelines has been organised. The Central Division and sub divisional outbreak response teams, including Environmental Health Officers, have been working closely with the ministry’s Centre for Communicable Disease Control.

This is to conduct investigations and public health awareness and interventions involving household inspections in the community. The public have also been advised through mass media advertisements on the prevention of leptospirosis.

For more information please visit your nearest healthcare facility or the ‘My Health Section’ on the Ministry of Health and Medical Services website

Edited by Percy Kean


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