Indigenous Panama region Suffers Mystery Illness
PANAMA CITY, Panama –
Local officials are reporting that 42 people have died, almost all of them children, in an outbreak of a still unidentified disease in the remote Ñurum district of Panama’s indigenous Ngobe-Bugle region.The ailment begins with a runny nose, coughing and fever, and when it gets deadly the victims present symptoms that look like bronchial pneumonia, according to a statement by Panama’s Health Ministry. The Health Ministry and the semi-automomous Gorgas Memorial Laboratory say they don’t know the cause of the illness.
`WE’RE STUDYING IT’
”We’re studying it, and the Gorgas Lab is working on it, but to say anything now would be speculation,” said a ministry official who asked for anonymity because he lacked authorization to comment on the case.
Federal government officials say they know of only 10 deaths, but some of their comments on the case have been contradictory.
Government officials fanned out to visit thousands of families and
advise them to cooperate with health officials and that nobody
evacuated to a city hospital would be left stranded — a concern that
had led some of the poor parents to refuse to let their children be
taken to a hospital.
Source: Miami Herald