Fear of a water-borne disease outbreak is gripping Fiji in the aftermath of Cyclone Tomas which battered the South Pacific island nation last Friday, displacing 20,000 people. The country was suffering from a typhoid outbreak even before the storm hit, and health officials fear it could spread quickly through the packed evacuation centers. “The health ministry has already deployed teams to the eastern and central divisions to assess health risks, Radio New Zealand International (RNZI) said on Thursday. Iliesa Tora, a health ministry spokeswoman, said officials are worried about the spread of water-borne diseases following the winds and rain. ‘We’ve just had typhoid cases before the cyclone and that’s something we’re concerned about,’ the radio station quoted her as saying. ‘We’re also concerned about other things, like leptospirosis and diarrhoea, especially that now in the rural areas the water system would be affected in some way.’ Tomas packed winds of up to 205 kilometres per hour and gusts of up to 280 kilometres per hour when it first hit Fiji late on Friday.”
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