The death toll in Bangladesh's worst cholera epidemic continues to rise rapidly, in spite of an intensive campaign to stop it spreading.
The death toll in Bangladesh's worst cholera epidemic continues to rise rapidly, in spite of an intensive campaign to stop it spreading. By Monday (26 September) the official toll stood at 522 dead, an increase of 260 fatalities in only 5 days. The Government has now called in the army to help with an inoculation campaign. Ten field hospitals have been set up in the worst-stricken areas.
SYNOPSIS: Doctors and para-medical staff from the Bangladesh capital of Dacca have been sent out to the various field hospitals on emergency duty, and helping them are World Health Organisation and UNICEF workers. At this field hospital in Eastern Bangladesh, one of the worst hit areas, the staff have been working around the clock to cope with a continual stream of patients.
Before the field hospital was set up, these villagers from remote areas had no access to medical treatment. Now the more seriously affected are being admitted as hospital patients, while others are being vaccinated and educated to prevent the spread of cholera by boiling all water, and observing basic rules of sanitation.
Cholera attacks the intestines. The first symptoms are vomiting and diarrhoea, leading to serious dehydration and muscular pain in extreme cases.
If untreated, cholera kills 5 to 20 percent of its victims. But Bangladesh health Authorities are hoping that field hospitals such as these will help cure thousands of patients and stem the epidemic, which the Dacca Cholera Research Centre describes as the "deadliest" it's had to combat.