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Typhoid outbreak reported at Samoa's Tafa’igata prison

The outbreak of typhoid fever among inmates at Tafa’igata Prison has sparked the health sector into action. Ten prisoners were diagnosed with typhoid last week. This prompted the Ministry of Health, the National Health Services and the relevant government ministries to act quicklyto prevent further cases.

An emergency meeting was held on Tuesday where the Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr Leao Tuitama, Minister of Police, Sala Fata Pinati and senior officials from the Fire and Emergency Services Authority and Police discussed the issue.

“Fourteen prisoners had diarrhea,” Leausa Dr Take Naseri told the Samoa Observer yesterday. “When they were tested, we found that ten of them were positive with typhoid.” Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, a Consultant and Physician specialist for the Ministry of Health, said they immediately issued precautionary recommendations.

These include building more blocks of flats, improving and treating water and a policy that will screen new inmates as well as police officers.
Leausa said the number of prisoners at Tafa’igata has doubled over the years, from 250 to well over 400 now.

“We have also recommended to treat inmates as necessary and to create a vaccine which is cheaper than treating peo ple.”

Other changes discussed include trying to restrict visitors to the facility. A “halfway house” was also discussed.