Subject: LUSA: Death Toll in Oecussi Epidemic Revised Down to Six

Also: East Timor: Dysentery Epidemic Kills 24 Children

27 Sep 01 14:31 East Timor: Death Toll in Oecussi Epidemic Revised Down to Six

The East Timorese government revised Thursday down to six the death toll in a dysentary outbreak affecting the Oecussi enclave. Health Minister Rui Araujo told Lusa that only six deaths were confirmed, explaining that the previously-announced higher toll was due to "double counting of reports".

The territory`s transition administration had on Tuesday released a statement indicating that 24 children died recently in Oecussi from the disease, presumed to be caused by the shigella virus.

JBC

25 Sep 01 12:32 East Timor: Dysentery Epidemic Kills 24 Children

Medical officials in East Timor suspect a dysentery epidemic, that has already killed 24 children in the Oecussi enclave, is caused by the shigella bacterium.

The deaths were announced Tuesday by the territory`s health services who also said further laboratory analysis would confirm the type of bacteria and the manner of its spreading in the Oecussi enclave in Indonesian West Timor, about 120kms southwest of Dili.

However, East Timor`s deputy health minister, Joao Soares Martins, who returned from Oecussi Tuesday, told Lusa he could only confirm the deaths of six children who had been admitted to hospital.

"We know about the other cases through reports and are trying to identify the situations", stated Soares Martins who added, "ninety percent of the victims are less than three years-old".

The deputy minister said laboratory results were still awaited and extra antibiotics were being sent to Oecussi. He added that some units of the UN peacekeeping force were testing water supplies to determine the outbreak`s origin.

The East Timorese authorities have meanwhile launched an awareness campaign in Oecussi, through the media, church and transition administration officials, warning of the need to boil water and be mindful of personal hygiene.

CJB -Lusa-

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