Valley hospitals see a spurt in waterborne diseases

Kathmandu, July 25

The number of patients suffering from waterborne diseases — diarrhoea, dysentery, jaundice and typhoid — has increased in Kathmandu Valley in the last few days.

Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital said cases of waterborne diseases had risen significantly. “On an average, two dozen diarrhoea patients have been visiting the hospital every day,” said Dr Sher Bahadur Pun at STIDH. He said most of the patients visited the hospital in serious condition.

According to Dr Pun, diarrhoeal patients generally do not go to hospital in the initial stage and rely on over-the-counter medicines.

Dr Pun said most of the patients visited private clinics and only those who could not afford private care opted for government hospitals like STIDH.

The hospital said some patients were brought in unconscious stage. Likewise, cases of hepatitis ‘A’ and ‘E’, and typhoid have also risen in the past few days.

“Most of the hepatitis ‘A’ patients are children, while cases of hepatitis ‘E’ are high among adults,” he added.

Epidemiology and Disease Control Division of the Department of Health Services, which is responsible for containing the spread of infectious diseases like diarrhoea and other waterborne diseases, said there was a rise in the number of patients being admitted to hospitals in the Valley.

Officials at the division said most of the patients being admitted to the hospitals in Kathmandu Valley were suffering from waterborne diseases.

“The number of patients suffering from waterborne diseases has risen as in previous years with monsoon season at its peak,” said chief of epidemiology section, Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, Dr Guna Nidhi Sharma.

A recent study carried out by District Public Health Office, Kathmandu, had shown that about 66 per cent of the water being consumed in households of the Valley was contaminated with hazardous bacteria.

The Kathmandu District Public Health Office said presence of deadly microbes E coli and coliform were found in the water used in households of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts. E coli is a bacteria species that lives in the digestive tracts of humans and animals. These microbes cause diarrhoeal infections.

Similarly, coliform too are bacteria present in digestive tracts of both humans and animals and are found in their waste. Sharma said water used in the households of Kathmandu Valley were not safe to drink and urged all to ensure that their drinking water was properly boiled.