Health officials said yesterday that acute watery diarrhea killed two people in Kompong Cham province on Tuesday and that another person sickened in an outbreak in Ratanakkiri province last week had died on Monday.
Since Tuesday, watery diarrhea has rapidly spread to 126 people in five villages in Stung Trang district’s Mesar Chrey commune, according to Kompong Cham provincial health director Kim Sourphirum.
A 70-year-old man and a 13-year-old boy both fell ill with diarrhea and vomiting and died Tuesday evening, Mr Sourphirum said. The deaths of the two patients are the first caused by watery diarrhea in the province this year, he said.
“We cannot say these cases are cholera, because we do not have the test results yet. We can only call it watery diarrhea,” Mr Sourphirum said, adding that samples were sent yesterday to the Ministry of Health. “The results are due in three days’ time.”
After hearing news of the outbreak, the health department sent staff to treat patients at the villages and at the commune health center, as well as to spread awareness about hygiene.
Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng visited patients yesterday, giving them food and offering money and milled rice to the bereaved families, according to Mr Sourphirum.
In Ratanakkiri province, a 60-year-old man died on Monday, despite signs that the situation was improving after an outbreak on May 6 in O’Chum district’s La’ak commune. The case marked the third death in Kam village from watery diarrhea, which has affected 63 people. The infection rate is slowing, however, provincial health department deputy director Hoy Vannara said yesterday.
The 60-year-old patient, an ethnic Kreung, died the day he was discharged from the hospital. After being discharged, he went to a farm away from the village to pray for health, according to local custom.
“He died at the farm where he prayed for luck,” Mr Vannara said.