Dhaka, Apr 13 (EFE).- At least 30 people have died and over 170,000 people have been treated in different hospitals across Bangladesh as it grapples with a pre-monsoon outbreak of diarrhea, the country’s health authorities said Wednesday.
“So far five people have died from severe dehydration in our hospital since the beginning of the outbreak on Mar.7-8. Besides, around 25 people were brought dead here,” Head of International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research Bangladesh hospital, Baharul Alam, told EFE
According to Alam, the hospital has received a record number of patients since the outbreak began in early March, and had to install additional tents in the premises to attend to the growing number of infected people.
As per official figures, more than 170,000 cases were reported from 22 government health centers across the country.
“We have two peak seasons for diarrhea, one is in winter, and one in pre-monsoon. This year the intensity in pre-monsoon is high and there has been an early onset. Usually, it starts late March, this year it started in early March,” Alam explained.
He added that on Apr.4, 1,383 patients were attended to at the hospital, marking a single day record for patients in its 60-year history.
However, the government of Bangladesh was more conservative in reporting its deaths from the outbreak.
“Four people died from the disease,” Directorate General of Health Services head Khurshid Alam said at a press briefing in Dhaka.
“We have received the information of 170,237 diarrhea patients this year from our 22 surveillance centers,” he added.
The health authorities said they were taking all possible steps against the outbreak, including spreading awareness among the people.
“We have taken an initiative of giving an oral vaccine to 2.3 million people living in five diarrhea-prone areas in Dhaka,” said health service director Alam.
Public health experts believe that contamination in the water supplied by the authorities is one of the reasons behind the outbreak becoming severe.
“You might notice that the supplied water in a large part of Dhaka became polluted. (…) You can drink boiled water, but there are other things that can spread diarrhea,” virologist and former vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Nazrul Islam, told EFE.
“People drink juice from the roadside shops in summer. The ice used to prepare the juice is normally used to preserve fish in the market. It may appear tasty, but it is contaminated and can cause diarrhea,” he added. EFE