The second highest cases of acute diarrhoeal disease and enteric (typhoid) deaths in 2017, has been recorded second highest in Assam, says National Health Profile 2018, recently published by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence.
Both acute diarrhoeal diseases and enteric fever are caused by contaminated water.
According to a health expert, in Assam, the cases and deaths may be attributed to the major floods that wreaked havoc in many parts of the state in 2017.
In terms of acute diarrhoeal disease, the state reported 1,65,347 cases with 239 deaths.Though states like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal reported more cases – 11,63,707, 3,09,289 and 1888794 respectively, they reported fewer deaths – 50, 19 and 115 respectively.
Uttar Pradesh reported the maximum number of deaths, 302, of the 12,19,071 cases of acute diarrhoeal diseases reported.
Professor of medicine at Assam Medical College Hospital, Bhupendra Mahanta, said, “Both acute diarrhoeal diseases and enteric fever are caused by water contamination. It is common during post-floods when common drinking water sources are contaminated. The rise in such diseases in Assam may be attributed to the floods but what needs to be seen is the break-up of the seasons during which the cases were reported. During floods, people tend to stay together in camps and this close proximity gives rise to infection. Deaths can be caused due to late treatment, dehydration and lack of awareness.”
Of the 15,137 enteric (typhoid) cases reported from Assam in 2017, there were 122 deaths. States like Bihar and Karnataka reported more cases, 1,71,233 and 1,37,973 respectively but the deaths reported were two and four respectively. Uttar Pradesh reported the maximum number of typhoid deaths – 248 out of 6,40,678 reported cases.
In 2016, Assam had reported 19,328 enteric cases but no deaths.
Dhubri district, one of the worst hit by floods last year, had reported more than 700 cases of enteric fever since the onset of heavy floods in June 2017.
The state chapter of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme had then been asked to indicate the necessary measures taken.
Fever lasting several days, with headache, nausea, loss in appetite and diarrhoea, are some of the symptoms of enteric fever. It emerges in an environment where sanitation is poor and there is absence of safe drinking water.
During the 2014 floods, cholera cases were reported from Lakhimpur district, resulting in three deaths.
Source: TNT-TheNorthEastToday (The Telegraph)