Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Cholera prevention workshop held

POHNPEI, Palikir (FSM Information Service): May 2000 - The Micronesian Red Cross Society held a training session today focusing on training volunteers to assist Pohnpei State in educating communities on how to prevent the spread of cholera.

This comes one day after Governor Johnny David declared a state of emergency in Pohnpei because of the presence of the disease.

Red Cross Emergency and Disaster Relief Committee co-chair Amato Elymore, who held the workshop, stressed that cholera is easily spread through contaminated water systems, flies, ants, dirty hands, toilets that empty into the rivers, etc.

He said that all the water systems in Pohnpei, except the 24-hour water in Kolonia Town and in Palikir, must be considered unsafe. It was also stated in the meeting that reef fish and clams at the mouth of contaminated water systems could become contaminated also.

Elymore warned against swimming in the rivers, for if people who have had diarrhea or who have been vomiting go to the river, they could contaminate the water, and people swimming in the river, will become ill.

He also said that sharing soda cans, cigarettes, water cups, etc. could, spread the disease.

He added that even using the bush for toilet purposes could spread the disease because flies landing on the feces will then land elsewhere, further spreading the disease.

Eight drops of Clorox or Purex or other 5 percent bleaches mixed and allowed to stand for 30 minutes in the shade in one gallon of water can be used to disinfect the water, said Elymore.

For five gallons of water, use one-half teaspoon, one teaspoon per 10 gallons and six teaspoons per 55 gallons of water.

Suspected water can also be brought to a boil and maintained at a boil for at least one minute for disinfection, according to a handout, recommended by the World Health Organization, presented by Elymore to the volunteers.

Elymore said that as of 1 p.m., today, 36 patients have been admitted to the hospital as cholera cases, but this does not include those people who are carriers of the disease.

He said that a person who has been exposed to the disease could show symptoms from any where from three hours to five days after contamination.

Victims of cholera develop an acute, whitish diarrhea and begin to vomit. People displaying these symptoms are urged to get medical treatment as soon as possible.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356