Another two people died from acute watery diarrhea in Ratanakkiri province this week and a third death was recorded in Mondolkiri province, health officials said Friday.
Hoy Vannara, head of Ratanakkiri’s communicable disease control department, said that two men whose ages he did not know died on Monday in Ratanakkiri’s Banlung city, bringing the total number of deaths in the province from either cholera or AWD to 23 since the beginning of April. The total number of reported cases of acute diarrhea and cholera in the province now stands at 770.
“We cannot end this infection. We don’t know how to do it,” Mr Vannara said, adding that about one person with AWD was arriving at the provincial hospital every day for treatment.
Mr Vannara said that health officials had held a meeting in Banlung city yesterday to inform local authorities in preventative sanitary measures that can be taken to avoid diarrhea outbreaks.
According to the World Health Organization, cases of AWD are up by about 50 percent compared to last year, though the level of reporting has improved in that time, said Dr Nima Asgari, a public health specialist at the World Health Organization in Cambodia.
Ngin Kim Seng, director of Mondolkiri’s Keo Seima district health center, said a 30-year-old man in Mondolkiri’s Sre Preah commune died from acute diarrhea on Wednesday after arriving too late at the district health center.
“He was unconscious when he reached the health center and he died later,” he said.
“Normally when the rainy season starts a lot of people get diarrhea because they drink dirty water,” said Sin Vanvuth, Keo Seima district governor. He added that after the death of the man on Wednesday district health officials went to Sre Preah commune to educate villagers on how to drink safely.
According to Dr Asgari, the effect of wet season rains on the number of diarrhea cases is difficult to predict but it is not unlikely that, in the short run, the number of cases will go up as rain pushes bacteria into communal water sources.
Dr Asgari said the number of cases would likely decrease once families began to fill their private water containers.
“It is quite possible that as the rainy season begins, we will begin to see more local pockets of infection,” Dr Asgari said on Friday.
In Bangladesh, where cholera is a major issue, Dr Asgari said that the rainy season tends to increase the rate of infection, but he pointed out that Cambodia has a significantly lower population density.
Still, Dr Asgari said, Cambodia has to be careful because “Cholera has been reported in neighboring countries and remains an issue in the Mekong sub-region.”
Twenty cases of acute diarrhea were reported on Tuesday in Pursat province, said Trapaing Chong commune chief Im Samin.
“After the diarrhea outbreak was reported we went to the village and brought them to the hospital and educated them on good hygiene. But some of them did not want to go because they believed that spirits will heal them,” Mr Samin said.