Danger not over yet
Although the number of diarrhoea patients in Barishal division has decreased, officials said the threat is far from being over.
According to the Divisional Health Office, 50,820 people have been admitted to hospitals due to diarrhoea since January in the division, of which 19 have died so far.
Meanwhile, 440 people have been affected with diarrhoea in the last 24 hours; the number was four times higher in mid-April.
Amid this situation, health officials have stressed the need for bringing diarrhoea patients to medical centres immediately for treatment rather than waiting for the last moment.
Meanwhile, a team of the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) has examined patients at various district hospitals including upazila health centres in the division and sent their report to the authorities concerned.
They said patients were suffering from cholera as they are using water from rivers, canals and ponds and recommended not to use surface water, according to divisional health office in Barishal.
Dr Basudeb Kumar Das, director of the health office, said pollution of river water has increased, and as a result, people are contracting waterborne diseases.
Meanwhile, two people from Patuakhali and Barguna districts died of diarrhoea on May 8.
However, the divisional health office said the number of people dying due to diarrhoea may be more as those who were not admitted to hospitals weren't included in the death toll.
Dr Malay Krishna Baral, residential medical officer at Barishal General Hospital, said at present they have 35 diarrhoea patients admitted to their hospital. The number was 95 in mid-April.
He also said there is no shortage of saline at the moment.
"But the number of people dying due to diarrhoea is on the rise as people are bringing those affected to hospitals at the last moment," he added.
Dr Monowar Hossain, civil surgeon of Barishal, said the number of deaths would have been much less had patients sought treatment at the right time.
On March 1-14, an eight-member team of IEDCR visited the area and found the bacterium E coli in stools of patients, said Dr Basudeb Kumar Das.
The team sent their observation to Barishal General Hospital last week.
According to the Divisional Health Office, IEDCR Director Prof Tahmina Shirin signed the report, which said 71 percent of the patients did daily household chores with water from rivers, canals and ponds.
They recommended using water from deep tube wells, instead of surface water.
Asked, Divisional Commissioner Md Saiful Islam Badal said, "We have initiated campaigns at upazila level to raise awareness among people."