Ratanakkiri, Kratie Diarrhea Cases Slowing, Officials Say

Last week’s outbreak of acute watery diarrhea, which killed two people in Ratanakkiri and sickened dozens in Kratie, is showing signs of slowing, health officials said yesterday.

Hoy Vannara, deputy director of the Ratanakkiri provincial health department, reported that since May 6, the number of new diarrhea cases has been decreasing. Last week, two women died after suffering from diarrhea and the health department recorded 54 infections in total.

“On May 5 and 6 about 10 to 20 people reported having diarrhea but now it is only one or two people,” Mr Vannara said.

Health officials are currently promoting good hygiene practices such as boiling water before use as ways to stem the outbreak, Mr Vannara said.

He also urged people to stay at home instead of fleeing their areas out of fear of infection and for those suffering from diarrhea to visit the hospital immediately. So far this year 19 people have died from acute diarrhea in the two provinces.

Mr Vannara said he had not heard of villagers fleeing their villages, although it had been known to happen in the past.

But Bien Yem, second chief of La’ak commune in Ratanakkiri’s O’Chum district, where last week’s two victims lived, said that some villagers have moved out of their homes to escape the diarrhea.

“The villagers moved to their farms or the forest because they are afraid of catching diarrhea after the outbreak,” Mr Yem said.

Though some have already re­turned to their villages, there are health concerns for villagers who stay away too long, Mr Yem said.

“I think that when they move to live at the farm or forest they are exposed to other diseases such as malaria,” he said.

Chhneang Sovutha, director of the Kratie provincial health department, said the outbreak of acute diarrhea in Chet Borei district, which struck more than 40 people last week and was the second outbreak this year, has not claimed any lives.

“This morning two people reported having diarrhea but it was not too severe,” he said.


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