A remote hilly area of Sitakunda in Chittagong appears to be in the grip of a mysterious disease that has killed nine children while 35 others still remain sick.
Twenty-six of the children from the minority Tripura community have been admitted to Bangladesh Institute of Tropical and Infectious Disease (BITID) Fouzderhat in Chittagong.
The children at Sonaichhari in Baro Awlia under Sitakunda upazila reportedly come down with fever, rash, diarrhea, vomiting and respiratory problems all at the same time.
A medical team from BITID is currently in the area and are collecting samples from the affected children.
Officials at Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH) said nine children affected by the unidentified disease were admitted to ward nine of the hospital on Wednesday.
[caption id="attachment_74423" align="aligncenter" width="800"]
Two nurses at the Chittagong Medical College Hospital administer an injection to an ailing child, who has been suffering from a mysterious disease Rabin Chowdhury/Dhaka Tribune
Dr Azizur Rahman Siddiqui, civil surgeon of Chittagong, told the Dhaka Tribune that nine children had died in just four days.
He confirmed that the children did not die from dengue or chikungunya disease.
“All the victims affected by the unidentified disease belong to the Tripura community. Four children died yesterday,” said the civil surgeon.
“We are yet to identify the disease. A team from Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) has already been dispatched to the area to collect samples of the disease,” he said.
“The children affected by the unknown disease are showing symptoms of fever, rash, diarrhea, vomiting and respiratory problem for the last three days,” added Dr Siddiqui.
Nazmul Islam Bhuiyan, Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Sitakunda told the Dhaka Tribune that all children affected by the unidentified disease are within 1 to 15 year olds.
[caption id="attachment_74422" align="aligncenter" width="800"]
Another mother on the bedside of her two ailing children, who have been suffering from a mysterious disease, at the Chittagong Medical College Hospital on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 Rabin Chowdhury/Dhaka Tribune
“We have asked the people of the local ethnic community not to send their children to educational institutes for some days to check the spread of the unknown disease,” said the UNO, adding that the local ethnic community had tried to conceal the outbreak of the disease.
“From the symptoms of the disease, we primarily suspect that the children of the area have been affected by a viral outbreak. However, we are examining the health of the affected children and collecting blood samples,” said Dr Mamunur Rashid, member of the BITID medical team visiting the area.
Shashi Kumar’s 12-year daughter affected by the disease now lies at a bed in CMCH.
“My daughter fell sick four to five days ago. At first we thought it was just a fever. We could not realize the severity of the disease. My daughter has shown symptoms like rash, fever and abdominal pain,” added Shashi Kumar.