Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2016 22:30:58 +0100

Sydney, Dec 9, 2016 (AFP) - A strong 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck Saturday off the Solomon Islands, one day after a major quake, raising the threat of hazardous tsunami waves, officials said.   However, police in the nearest centre to the off-shore tremor said there were no reports of fresh damage and residents did not flee their homes as they had the previous day.

The epicentre of the latest quake, which hit at 6:10 am (1910 GMT Friday), was located 90 kilometres (55 miles) west of Kirakira, a provincial capital in the Solomons, at a depth of 10 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.   The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre had said there was no tsunami threat from the quake but later forecasted "hazardous tsunami waves" 1-3 metres (3-10 feet) above tide level along some coasts of the Solomons.   It warned of waves up to 0.3 metres along the coasts of Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

However, Donald Tehimae, the duty officer at the Kirakira police station, said there was no immediate sign the fresh tremor had any serious impact.   "Everything is okay," he said.   "Yesterday, everyone evacuated to the highlands but after the cancellation of the tsunami warning we all came back. This time we all stayed here."

USGS said there was low likelihood of casualties and damage from the quake.   Friday's major 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck off the archipelago, triggering severe shaking and a tsunami warning, but there were no reports of any serious damage.   The Solomon Islands are part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire", a zone of tectonic activity known for frequent quakes and volcanic eruptions.    In 2007, an 8.0-magnitude quake in the Solomon Islands claimed 52 lives and left thousands homeless when it created a 10-metre tsunami.
Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2016 19:53:56 +0100

Sydney, Dec 8, 2016 (AFP) - A major 7.7-magnitude quake struck Friday off the Solomon Islands, raising the threat of "widespread, hazardous" tsunami waves, officials said.   The US Geological Survey said some casualties and damage were possible from the quake, while the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said some coasts in the Solomons, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, New Caledonia, Tuvalu and Kosrae could be affected within the next three hours.

The epicentre of the quake, which hit at 4:38 am (1738 GMT Thursday), was located 68 kilometres (42 miles) west of Kirakira, a provincial capital in the Solomon Islands, at a depth of 48 kilometres, USGS said.   "Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though some resistant structures exist," it added.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said waves reaching 1-3 metres above tide level could occur along parts of the Solomons.   In 2013, the islands were hit by a tsunami after an 8.0-magnitude quake, leaving at least 10 people dead and thousands homeless after buildings were destroyed.
Date: Fri 23 Sep 2016
Source: [edited]

There have been unconfirmed reports of an outbreak of meningitis in the Malaita Province of Solomon Islands. A doctor working in the Atoifi Hospital told the Solomon Star on Monday [19 Sep 2016] that 5 people had been diagnosed with the disease. [Dr] Chellion Evan said the patients who arrived at the hospital were in a serious condition but could not be immediately treated. However, they were being closely monitored in isolation.

Dr Evan said he believed these were cases of bacterial meningitis, which can be fatal if left untreated.

He said villagers in the area had been warned to look out for early symptoms of meningitis; these include fever, vomiting, headaches and nausea, as well as joint pain, pale skin, and cold hands and feet. Dr Evan said this could be followed by a rash, neck stiffness, disorientation, and a dislike of bright lights.

The last suspected outbreak of meningitis in the Solomon Islands was in July 2014 when 4 children were reported to have died in Makira Province.
[The news report above says that 5 people have been diagnosed as having suspected bacterial meningitis but are not being immediately treated, although the news article goes on to say without further explanation that the disease is fatal if left untreated.

Acute bacterial meningitis is a rapidly progressive disease. In a patient with suspected acute bacterial meningitis, blood cultures and a lumbar puncture (LP) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) examination and culture are indicated to determine the causative organism and its antibiotic susceptibilities. An empiric intravenous antibiotic regimen is started as quickly as possible that has a spectrum broad enough to cover the most likely bacterial pathogens until the specific bacterial aetiology is known. It is vital to begin treatment as early as possible in the course of the disease, as delay may contribute significantly to morbidity and mortality. Adjunctive dexamethasone is also given before or with the 1st antibiotic dose. Once a pathogen is known, the antibiotic regimen can be tailored to the antibiotic susceptibilities of the pathogen.

Common causes of bacterial meningitis vary by age group: in newborns - Group B _Streptococcus_, _Streptococcus pneumoniae_, _Escherichia coli_, _Listeria monocytogenes_; in infants and children - _S. pneumoniae_, _Neisseria meningitidis_, _Haemophilus influenzae_ type b, Group B _Streptococcus_; in adolescents and young adults - _N. meningitidis_, _S. pneumoniae_; and in older adults - _S. pneumoniae_, _N. meningitidis_, _H. influenzae_ type b, Group B _Streptococcus_, _L. monocytogenes_. Outbreaks of meningitis in the community are often due to _N. meningitidis_.

More information on this outbreak would be appreciated from knowledgeable sources.

Solomon Islands is a sovereign country consisting of 6 major islands and over 900 smaller islands, lying to the east of Papua New Guinea (<>). Malaita Province, with a population of 122 620 residents, is named after its largest island, Malaita (<>). The island of Malaita is the most populous island of the Solomon Islands, with 140 000 residents (<>).

The patients were admitted to Atoifi Hospital, which is located on Malaita Island

In 1965, the 7th day Adventist Church established the 80-bed Atoifi Hospital, which serves a population of 80 000 people in the eastern half of Malaita (<>).
The hospital has an operating theatre that performs around 600 surgical operations per year, a laboratory for simple medical tests, and an x-ray unit (<>). - ProMED Mod.ML]

[A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at:
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2016 10:20:38 +0200

Sydney, Sept 14, 2016 (AFP) - A 6.0-magnitude quake hit off the Solomon Islands on Wednesday, officials said, but Australian seismologists said it was unlikely to generate a tsunami.   The quake hit some 88 kilometres (54 miles) west of the capital Honiara at a depth of about 10 kilometres, the United States Geological Survey said.   Geoscience Australia estimated the quake at a much deeper 30 kilometres, but said it was of a 6.2 magnitude.   "It's too small to be tsunamigenic," Geoscience Australia's Phil Cummins told AFP, adding that it was not in an area where it was likely to cause significant damage.   The Solomon Islands experience frequent seismic activity due to collisions between continental plates.
Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2016 23:49:32 +0200

Miami, April 18, 2016 (AFP) - Extreme weather events are expected to strike more often due to climate change, and a study published Monday detailed how a 2014 storm triggered a health crisis on the Solomon Islands.   The report in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine examined the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Ita, which drenched the capital, Honiara, with more than 24 inches (60 centimeters) of rain from April 2-4.

"This study based in the Pacific island region has implications for coastal communities worldwide," said Stephen Higgs, president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.   The unusually intense storm caused rivers to overflow, flooding roads and sweeping away bridges and homes in the city of 64,000 people.   The storm killed 31 people and was deemed per capita to be the world's most deadly single event disaster of 2014, according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters.

"This is the first study to catalog significant health impacts from our changing climate in the Pacific region," said lead author Eileen Natuzzi, a general surgeon and public health researcher at San Diego State University.   "The findings support the notion that this region is vulnerable not only to the well-documented rising sea levels associated with climate change, but also to more severe storms like this flood, which we witnessed as well as cyclones like Pam and Winston that have followed it."   The floods were particularly dangerous to children.    Twenty-one died in the floods -- most were children under 14 who were swept away -- and 10 more children died of diarrhea and related complications in the days to follow.    The storm broke water and sewer lines, and three of Honiara's nine health clinics were flooded.

One month after the storm, reports of infectious disease transmission reached a peak with 2,134 cases of flu-like illness and 3,876 cases of diarrhea, mostly among children under age five.    Researchers still do not know what caused the disease outbreaks, because there was no detailed analysis of pathogens found in the drinking water in the weeks after the flood.   The study also found that 75 percent of Honiara's healthcare infrastructure was located in areas considered "vulnerable to destruction by a future flood event."

Furthermore, one in three people in Honiara live within 500 meters (yards) of a river or coastline.    "Our findings could help governments and those providing aid improve readiness and response in order to save lives," said Natuzzi.   Some strategies could include moving housing and hospitals away from flood-prone areas.   "We can't change the weather, but we can change the capacity of communities to cope with the aftermath of extreme weather events," Natuzzi said.
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