In Fiji, violence against women and girls has cost the economy approximately FJ$300 million ($134 million) annually, which is equivalent to 7 per cent of the island nation's gross domestic product (GDP).
Around 11 people have died due to leptospirosis during the past one and half months in Fiji.
Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Health James Fong said Tuesday that most of the deaths were between 16 to 35 years of age, and the youngest one was 6 years old. He said a total of 74 cases were confirmed since January this year, and more people were diagnosed clinically.
After the recent floods, more people were admitted to hospitals for leptospirosis in the Western Division, he said, adding that care delay was attributed significantly to these adverse outcomes.
He advised that early treatment can decrease the severity and duration of the disease.
Fong said the health ministry have deployed specialist outreach teams to the areas that are regarded as difficult to reach and are at high risk.
Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria that enter the body through skin or eyes, nose or mouth, especially when the skin is broken. Drinking contaminated water may also cause infection.
Outbreaks of leptospirosis are usually caused by exposure to contaminated water such as floodwaters.
In the Pacific island countries, the summer season raises people’s risk of contracting leptospirosis due to higher rainfall and frequent flooding.