Contaminated water - A major life taker in Assam

Contaminated water - A major life taker in Assam

GUWAHATI: Contaminated water has made Assam the second highest State in the country in reporting deaths due to acute diarrhoeal diseases and enteric fever (typhoid).

Both acute diarrhoeal diseases and enteric fever are caused by contaminated water.

In 2017, the state had reported 1, 65,377 cases of acute diarrhoeal diseases with 239 deaths. Even though Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal reported more cases - 11, 63,707, 3, 09,289 and 1888794 respectively, these State 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.

Out 15,137 enteric (typhoid) cases reported in Assam in 2017, there were 122 deaths. Bihar and Karnataka reported more cases than Assam but deaths reported in the two States two and four respectively. Typhoid claimed the highest number lives in Uttar Pradesh. There were 248 deaths in Uttar Pradesh out of 6, 40,678 reported cases.

Such poor health scenario has come to light after the latest publication of National Health Profile 2018 by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence.

Interestingly, Assam had reported 19,328 enteric cases in 2016 without a single death.

A senior professor of medicine at Gauhati Medical College & Hospital told The Sentinel that both acute diarrhoeal diseases and enteric fever are caused by water contamination, a very common phenomenon in Assam soon after annual floods when sources of drinking water get contaminated.

“Flood ravaged people tend to stay together in camps set up by the administration in different districts and this close proximity gives rise to infection. Deaths can be caused due to late treatment, dehydration and lack of awareness,” the medicine doctor said. 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 doctor said some of symptoms of enteric fever or typhoid are fever lasting several days, with headache, nausea, loss in appetite and diarrhea. The disease is more reported in an environment where sanitation is poor and there is absence of safe drinking water, he said.

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