Of the infected patients, four died in Bakerganj, two in Barguna, and two in Patuakhali in the last one week
The diarrhoea outbreak in the Barisal division has turned severe with eight deaths and thousands hospitalized across six districts.
Currently 18 of the 40 upazilas under 6 districts of Barisal division are suffering from a diarrhoea crisis.
Bhola faced the brunt of the crisis, with the district witnessing 8,090 hospital admissions from the beginning of the year till Wednesday. The number was 4,252 in the last month alone.
Health officials of Barisal district have termed water pollution as the culprit behind this condition.
Dr Shyamal Krishna Mandal, assistant director of Barisal Divisional Health Office, said two investigation teams of the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) had found bacterial E Coli in the stool of diarrhoea patients.
E coli (Escherichia coli) bacterium causes a cholera-like illness and acute diarrhoea.
Meanwhile, as the situation is deteriorating drastically, the markets have run out of Inter Venus (IV) fluid stocks.
Dhaka Tribune has learned that medical services are being disrupted due to an insufficient supply of this crucial saline (IV drip) at the government level.
According to the Barisal Divisional Health Office, a total of 32,183 people have been infected with diarrhoea in the last three months in six districts of the division.
In the last one month, 17,672 people have been infected. And in the last one week, an average of 1,100 patients were admitted to hospitals every day. But now, more than 1,500 patients have been admitted in a span of 24 hours.
Situation in Bhola
The authorities at the 250-bed Bhola General Hospital are not being able to provide seats and patients have made beds on the floors and even the balconies are packed with patients. The guardians of the patients are falling ill due to the poor conditions.
Many of the patients came to seek treatment from the hospital but returned home empty-handed.
Bhola Civil Surgeon Dr Syed Rezaul Islam said 74 teams had been dispatched to the field to battle the crisis.
Of the infected patients, four died in Bakerganj, two in Barguna, and two in Patuakhali in the last one week, the Divisional Health Office confirmed.
Barisal Divisional Health Director Dr Basudeb Kumar Das said that water pollution in the rivers had increased. As a result the disease has been spreading rapidly as it is mainly water borne.
“Although diarrhoea is a symptom of coronavirus, we are still not sure if it is due to Covid-19,” he added.
So far, the number of patients infected with Covid-19 is 13,832, out of which 244 have died, Basudeb said. Already 406 medical teams have been dispatched to bring the situation under control.
Saline, IV drip crisis
Meanwhile, there is a demand for more than 100,000 saline packets in the six districts of Barisal division at the moment, but there are only a few thousand saline sachets in the hospital stocks.
“The demand in our department has increased many folds,” he said, adding: “A patient can often need up to 50 litres of IV fluids, so the gap between demand and supply is immense. This has led to a crisis.”
Representatives of the pharmaceutical companies have been instructed not to create a saline crisis in any way, said Dr Shyamal, assistant director of the divisional health office.
Md Mohsin, senior regional sales officer of Beximco Pharmaceuticals in Barisal, said that at the moment more than 50,000 bags of IV drip were urgently needed but they were not able to supply even half of them although some more companies were also in the market.
Dr Maloy Krishna, resident medical officer at Barisal General Hospital, said there was a crisis of IV fluid at the hospital.
Dr Rezaul, civil surgeon of Bhola district, said there had been an IV drip stock crisis since the last 10-15 days.
The problem would be solved if 35,000 bags of IV drip were supplied within a short time, said Dr Basudeb, director of the Barisal Divisional Health Office.