Over the past few weeks, diarrhea and cholera cases have been increasing in different parts of our country especially in mid and far-western regions
and even in Kathmandu in the middle of the monsoon season. Diarrhoea first noticed in
Doti district in mid June, now has been spread to different villages and districts of the far-western region.
Diarrhea is the most common presenting symptom of the lower intestinal tract infection. It is difficult to define diarrhea in absolute terms. When there is more than three bowel movements daily and the stool takes on a form that is softer or more liquid than usual, it is called diarrhea. It may be watery as well as dyscentric type i.e passage of blood, mucous and pus through stool.
Simple things like lack of
sanitations, safe drinking water, improper personnel hygiene and environmental sanitation are responsible for causing epidemics in Nepal. Lack of proper sanitation and carelessness about diarrhea infection during the rainy season are leading to the increase in the number of diarrhea patients.
Acute infective diarrhea and gastroenteritis (diarrhea with vomiting) are major causes of ill health and premature death in developing countries in situations where water supplies are contaminated and sanitation is poor. Loss of water and electrolytes from the body can lead to severe dehydration which if untreated can be rapidly fatal in young children, especially those that are malnourished, hypoglycaemic, immune compromised and generally in poor health.
Diarrhea is most commonly due to viral gastroenteritis with rotavirus, which accounts for 40 per cent of such cases in children under five. In travelers, however, bacterial infections predominate. Various toxin such as mushroom poisoning and drugs can also cause acute diarrhea. Severe diarrhea causes dehydration and fluid loss from the body and may be life threatening, particularly in young children and people who have impaired immunity.
Dysentery; bloody diarrhea is one of the most dangerous type of diarrhea. In general it is more severe and more likely to result in death than other forms of acute diarrhea. Large scale outbreaks of dysentery are a particular threat to public health. The death rate can be as high as 15 per cent. The best way of prevention from diarrheal diseases is to prevent the transmission of fecal matters. Other ways of prevention includes hand washing, food hygiene, proper sanitation etc. Implementation of safe and hygiene practices is the main aspect to cope with diarrhea epidemic in developing countries like Nepal.
Nepal is Msc Microbilogy