Health department slams anthrax report

The people of Papua New Guinea should not be panicked by the alleged report in the media regarding an anthrax outbreak in Madang early this week.

The National Department of Health has confirmed with the Madang Provincial Health Authorities that anthrax disease was not an outbreak, though it existed among pigs in certain parts in the habitat.

According to World Health Organisation, anthrax is a disease caused by a bacterium called Bacillus anthracis. It is a disease which has existed for hundreds of years and which still occurs naturally in both animals and humans in many parts of the world. In its most common natural form, it creates dark sores on the skin.

Health Secretary Pasco Kase confirmed reports from his office and he was frustrated over the report as to how one has to post such nonsense, causing panic among residents, visitors and tourists in Madang.

“My office confirms that no human being in Madang has caught the anthrax bacteria. We have to be careful with the lives of the people when posting about diseases (outbreaks),” Kase warned.

“The health department has the authority to declare outbreaks in the country and not by individuals pressing the panic button.

“We deal with sensitive cases seriously as it involves people’s lives,” he said.

He said anthrax was common on pigs and did not affect people.

The National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority (NAQIA) also expressed similar sentiments.

NAQIA Chief Veterinary Dr Gibasa Asiba stated that “type of anthrax bacteria reported in Karkar (Madang) was common in PNG and affected only pigs, not humans”.

Madang leaders were also frustrated about the posts which resulted in panic among people.

Madang businessman and leader Sir Peter Barter called on authorities to investigate and apprehend the person who posted the misleading information.

(Health Secretary Pasco Kase – File pic)

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