Acute Watery Diarrhea Kills Another 3 in R’kiri

Three people, including a 5-year-old boy, died from the effects of acute watery diarrhea yesterday and Sunday in Ratanakkiri pro­vince’s Lumphat district, bringing the total deaths from AWD in the province to 26 this year, health officials said.

Two 30-year-old men died Sun­day, while the boy died yesterday in Lbaing I commune’s remote Kato­eng village, according to district health center director Say Soeung.

“They died from dehydration due to watery diarrhea,” Mr So­eung said, noting that six other members of the Kreung ethnic minority group were also affected.

“It is hard to access the village to help them, because it is a remote area and the road is difficult to travel,” Mr Soeung said. The boy died on the way to the provincial referral hospital for treatment, he added.

District governor Kung Srun said local villagers drink stream water and have poor sanitation, leading to diarrhea. “It seems to be cholera…. We worry that the outbreak will continue for a long time, like the one in Veun Sai district,” Mr Srun said.

An acute watery diarrhea outbreak in Veun Sai district started on June 15 and by Sunday had spread to all the district’s villages and affected 125 people, including 71 serious cases, said Alex Marcelino, the Ratanakkiri program manager for the NGO Health Unlimited.

“The number of cases seems to be increasing on a daily basis…. The situation is not good,” Mr Marce­lino said. The issue remains poor sanitation and hygiene, drinking unpurified water and the use of communal jars at celebrations, he said.

The provincial health department relies on NGO funds for transport, communication and staff living costs, Mr Marcelino said.

Acute watery diarrhea cases are up at least 50 percent compared to last year, according to the World Health Organization.

“There is a slight drop nationally, but these figures hide what happens at various geographical locations,” said Dr Nima Asgari, a public health specialist at the World Health Organization, noting that currently there are about 3,500 cases of AWD reported per week.


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