Virus-hit island seeks urgent aid
Britons living in what is described as the remotest community in the
world are seeking help after the outbreak of an acute virus.
Many of the 271 British citizens living on the volcanic island of
Tristan da Cunha, in the south Atlantic, have developed severe
They need to ensure that their current medical supplies do not run out.
An international operation to provide help is being led by the Foreign
and Commonwealth Office.
BBC world affairs correspondent Mike Wooldridge said the islanders
were being affected by what appears to be an outbreak of
viral-inducted asthma, which causes severe breathing problems.
Tristan da Cunha's one resident doctor, a South African, has issued an
appeal for medical supplies.
The South African Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre was alerted first
and informed British coastguards.
The volcanic island has no airstrip, making getting medicines there
However, merchant ships in the area are unlikely to have the necessary
drugs on board and a coastguard spokesman said there were no British
military vessels nearby at present.
Viruses have swept through the island before but Michael Swales,
chairman of the Tristan da Cunha association, said he could not recall
medicines becoming exhausted on previous occasions.
He said there was particular concern about the health of the elderly
and the very young.
Tristan da Cunha is situated 2,800 km west of Cape Town, South Africa,
and is part of a small group of islands.
It was at one time on the main trading route between Europe and the
Indian Ocean, but the small community living there is now extremely
The community of 275 people describe themselves as living in the
world's most isolated settlement.
The island is famous for a mass evacuation to Southampton in the 1960s
after a volcano erupted.
The main island is about 38 sq miles (98 sq km) and the currency is
the British pound.
SOURCE: BBC RADIO CORNWALL
Britons living in what has been described as the remotest community in the world are seeking help after the outbreak of an acute virus. Many of the 271 British citizens living on the volcanic island of Tristan da Cunha, in the south Atlantic, have developed severe breathing problems. Rosemary Glass, who lives on Tristan Da Cunha, told BBC Radio Cornwall what was happening:
"It's a very bad virus going around that's making people chesty-like, and it's hard for them to breathe, especially the older people and the younger children, and a few of the older people are in hospital but I think they've run out of medication for, you know, to help them, like oxygen and nebulisers and inhalers and such things like that."
Mrs Glass said that facilities on Tristan da Cunha were very limited for treating such a widespread outbreak:
"At the moment there are three (patients) in hospital and our hospital is not (an) enormous hospital, because sometimes it may be two or three years before you ever get a patient in, and so there's only about four beds, so if they're all taken the other ones have to stay in bed at home."
You might also be interested in a report on asthma among Tristanians:
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