Saturday, 23 Mar 2019

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Sudden surge in diarrhoea patients in Dhaka

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Health Desk: 10 April 2018: Diarrhoea has broken out in and around the capital due to the usage of contaminated water.

Diarrhoea cases usually increase during the summer, but this year the disease is being spread even before the summer reached its peak.

Higher temperatures in summer are suitable for growth of bacteria, virus or parasites in water and food.

Consumption of such unsafe water or food primarily contributes to the spread of diarrhoea in the summer time, according to experts.

By far, the highest number of diarrhoea patients taking admission at icddr,b -- the world's largest diarrhoeal disease hospital -- in one day during the first week of April had been 450. But this year, since April 2 till yesterday, the hospital has been seeing close to or higher than 700 admissions a day.

Icddr,b admitted 752 patients on April 3, 788 on April 6 and 735 on April 7 -- a sign of the unusual rise of the disease before the peak of summer, said icddr,b officials.

AKM Tariful Islam Khan, media manager at icddr,b, said 70 percent of the patients are adults and the rest are children. Among all, some 35 percent are suffering from severe dehydration.

Patients are coming from different parts of Dhaka and some are coming from the periphery of the city, he said, adding that the majority are from Jatrabari, Kadamtoli, Dakkhin Khan, Badda, Lalbagh, Mirpur, Ramna, and Mohammadpur areas.

Dr Azharul Islam Khan, chief physician and head of hospitals at the icddr,b, said many of the patients at the hospital reported to have drunk water, supplied in their areas, that emits foul odour. “… Based on patients' accounts, we think the unusual rise in diarrhoea cases is possibly due to the compromise in water quality.”

“The water supplied by Wasa cannot become contaminated all on a sudden. What we suspect is that there have been development works on many roads in recent days. And it's possible that the water pipes in some of [those] places might have developed leaks, resulting in the contamination of water,” Dr Azharul observed.

He advised anyone with diarrhoea symptoms to have oral saline properly and visit the nearest hospital at the earliest if the condition deteriorates.