A 50-year-old woman rapidly died from acute watery diarrhea on Wednesday in Ratanakkiri province’s Taveng district, health officials said. The latest death brought reported fatalities from acute watery diarrhea and cholera to 37 across the province since outbreaks began in April and infected 1,730 people.
Pheng Loeu, an ethnic Kreung minority woman, died from dehydration at her home in Taveng Krom commune’s Samporn Roeung Thom village, commune council member Men Thoeun said.
“She had very strong diarrhea and vomiting…. [Her family] did not bring her to the hospital because they have no transportation,” Mr Thoeun said.
Residents in the remote village are afraid of acute watery diarrhea because treatment is not easily accessible, he said. “The people here are very concerned because they do not have transport.”
Despite the recent death, cases of acute watery diarrhea have declined compared to previous months, said Hoy Vannara, provincial head of communicable disease control.
“The situation is almost back to normal…. Partner NGOs and authorities educate people about hygiene to reduce infections and health officials treat patients,” said Dr Vannara.
The outbreaks are being contained even though the rains have still not started properly, Dr Vannara said. People continue to rely on contaminated water sources, leading to infection.
“At this time it is still dry. When it rains hard it will wash the bacteria away,” he said.
Nationwide there has been a dip in weekly reports of acute watery diarrhea cases to about 3,500 from a peak of 4,500 recorded two months ago, said Nima Asgari, public health specialist at the World Health Organization.
The number of cholera cases confirmed on a weekly basis has also come down since earlier this year, he said, noting that it may be partly due to fewer samples sent for testing.
Cholera and acute watery diarrhea outbreaks are moving from one locality to another but these have been contained and there is not a large, explosive situation, Dr Asgari said.
“We are concerned about a situation of national outbreak, but really I do not think that we are at that level yet and hope we never will be,” Dr Asgari said.