Two Kreung ethnic minority women died last week in Ratanakkiri province from acute watery diarrhea, bringing the provincial death toll to 40 since outbreaks began in April, Hoy Vannara, provincial head of communicable disease control, said yesterday.
The two who died were among 117 people infected with the disease in last week’s flare-up in O’Chum district’s La’ak and O’Chum communes, Mr Vannara said, adding that 2,100 people have been infected in the province since April.
“Two people died because they had strong diarrhea and were late to the hospital,” Mr Vannara said of the recent victims.
The provincial health department has sent officials to treat patients at local health centers, as well as to teach them to boil drinking water and to improve local sanitation, he said.
“Our health officials went down quickly to help them, and some educated them about sanitation,” Mr Vannara said. “The situation is under control.”
Thirty-year-old Blel Moeun died Wednesday in O’Chum commune, commune chief Vong Duong said yesterday. Mr Duong said he was unsure how many people were infected in his commune.
La’ak commune chief Yam Pan could not be reached for comment yesterday and the name and age of the victim from his commune were unavailable.
Hing Than Sakunthea, director of the provincial hospital, said three patients were sent to his hospital, while others went to local health centers.
Sok Touch, director of communicable disease control at the Health Ministry, encouraged anyone with signs of acute watery diarrhea to seek medical care immediately.
Nima Asgari, public health specialist for the World Health Organization, said that since around June there had been a national decrease of about 25 percent in acute watery diarrhea cases.
“But that’s the national situation,” he said. “That can hide what happens at the provincial level because some provinces can increase.”
Dr Asgari added that ethnic minorities like the Kreung can struggle to learn disease prevention methods because of language barriers.
(Additional reporting by Clancy McGilligan)