Fiji government probes death of American couple

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The Government of Fiji is investigating into the death of an American couple, says a communique issued by the Ministry of Health and Medical Sciences (MHMS).

According to reports, David Paul (37) and his wife Michelle Calanog Paul (35) arrived in Fiji on May 22, 2019. They are reported to have died a couple of days later.

“The investigation into the cause of the deaths is still underway. MHMS considers this investigation a priority and is continuing to collaborate with the US Embassy in Fiji and is working closely with the Fiji Police Force forensics Department, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the United States’ Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” a Ministry communication said.

Staff Released

The five staff placed under observation in hospital as a precautionary measure have been released and are in good health. They are being followed up at their homes by Ministry of Health staff as a matter of precaution. All other people who had contact with the deceased couple during their illness remain well. This is supportive of the assessment that there is no evidence of risk to the public, a Ministry official said.

“The Ministry remains the only authoritative source for information with regard to this issue. The Ministry will continue to provide regular updates on  any new information. In the meantime, people should continue their lives as usual, take care of their health and seek medical attention if they feel ill, as they normally would,” the communique said.

“Results of the investigation may take weeks, possibly longer. At this stage, for reasons of patient confidentiality, and out of respect to the families of Mr and Mrs Paul during this difficult time, the MHMS and its partners involved in the investigation will not comment on specific details of the investigation.”

ABC News Release

In its Thursday (June 6, 2019) news bulletin, ABC News of Australia said that in text messages to their relatives, the couple had complained of being violently ill but offered no indication that they were worried the mystery ailment that afflicted them would take their lives.

“Michelle and David Paul died two days apart after arriving in Fiji on May 22 and becoming gravely ill soon after. The Fiji Health Ministry has been working with the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organisation to determine the malady that took the lives of two seemingly healthy people. Text messages obtained by ABC News from relatives shed light on the couple’s deteriorating conditions and the treatment they were offered by doctors at a local clinic,” the bulletin said.

ABC News quoted Ms Paul as saying in her text to her parents in Nevada, “We are both going to doctor now. We have been throwing up for eight hours. Dave has diarrhoea. My hands are numb. We will text when we can.”

After returning to their hotel, Michelle Paul wrote another text to her mother, Juliet Calanog, giving her an update on the treatment they received at the clinic.


Photo Caption:

David and Michelle Paul (ABC News Picture from ‘Handout via WFAA)

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