Outbreaks of disease in two Pacific Island nations…dengue fever in Palau, and mumps in the Marshall Islands. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.
Both outbreaks have an international aspect. Mumps in the Marshalls may be connected to an outbreak of the viral disease last year, in Arkansas. Half of the cases there were in the large Marshallese community…and, while precautions were taken, it’s possible that the virus travelled with Marshallese back home to the Pacific.
At least a thousand cases have been confirmed since an outbreak began in March. The Ministry of Health notes that the number of cases has been dropping in recent weeks, but Radio New Zealand reports concern that the drop could be due to under reporting and that the real number could be as high as three thousand.
Three people are reported dead among 200 infected by Dengue fever in Palau. On a visit to Taipei, Health Minister Emais Roberts welcomed the donation of three intravenous infusion pumps and 240 canisters of mosquito repellent to assist in the epidemic.
An eight member mobile medical mission from Taiwan has also been dispatched. While on the island, Minister Roberts expressed support for Taiwan. After objections from mainland China, Taiwan was excluded from this year’s meeting of the World Health Assembly in May.
Since the election of a more independence minded government in Taiwan last year, Beijing has mounted a wide ranging effort to reduce Taipei’s international support. Palau is one of six Pacific nations that maintains full diplomatic relations with Taiwan.