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Five Fijians under observations after mystery illness linked to U.S couple’s deaths

Five locals who are understood to have had direct contact with the U.S couple who died in Nadi, are now under observation at the Nadi Hospital.

The two security guards, two medical staff and a Police officer are believed to have shown symptoms similar to those that afflicted the Americans before their deaths.

In another development, it is understood that more than 10 staff from the property in question have been told to go on leave with pay including a duty manager, housekeeping staff and porters.

David James Paul, 38, an engineer with Lockheed Martin and his wife, Jane Michelle Canalog Paul, 35, had checked into a property on Denarau Island before they died from a mystery illness.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said that the Police and the Ministry of Health were collaborating with the investigation.

She said: “The post-mortem examination (on Saturday) revealed the couple died as a result of an illness. However, we have liaised with the Ministry of Health to send samples overseas for further testing.”

She added that the US Embassy was informed of the progress of the investigations.

Minister for Health Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said: “I must say that there is a collaboration happening within the Ministry of Health and we must identify the reasons why and what had really happened. The investigation is underway.

“I cannot comment until the media release tells us the details. Our team has been in contact with the team in the US which will decide if they will come to assist. The proper intervention has been done either by the area or the facilities involved.”

He later visited the patients at the Nadi Hospital.

According to Police the couple had a long history of globetrotting. They were in Australia and New Zealand before coming here.

The couple arrived here on 22 May. Paul’s wife was taken to the clinic on Denarau Island on 25 May and later died on 28 May at the Lautoka Hospital.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services is investigating the deaths of two United States citizens who arrived in Fiji on Wednesday 22nd May.

“The couple presented with an illness while in the country on holiday in the Western Division.

“Although they were provided medical treatment as standard of care, their illnesses progressively worsened and despite best efforts, they died within a few days of each other. At this stage the Ministry is conducting investigations into the possible causes and has also put in place necessary public health measures.

“The Ministry is also working with the Fiji Police Force’s forensics department, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on determining the cause of death,” the Health ministry said in a statement.

PacNews/ PNG Today

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