Raging epidemic kills 35 in flood aftermath in Bangladesh

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Dhaka (dpa) - At least 35 people have been killed in a raging epidemic sparked by contaminated water which has infected thousands of residents in rain soaked towns and muddy villages across Bangladesh, government health officials said Monday.
Most of the victims died from water-borne diarrhoea, with the majority of deaths recorded in the northern Rangpur region where over 10,000 homeless families are reeling from the aftermath of torrential rains last week.

''Diarrhoea and other intestinal infections are spreading fast in the flood ravaged countryside but we have an adequate number of medical teams in the area and so the situation is under control,'' said Rangpur district medical officer Taslimiddin Ahmad.

However, aid workers claimed supplies of dry food and water purification tablets were quickly running short in many areas.

Other fatalities were reported from at least half a dozen flood stricken districts in the north and central parts of the country.

Diarrhoeal infections cause acute dehydration of the body and can lead to death if the lost fluid is not quickly restored. The bacteria enters the body through consumption of untreated water.

The international Cholera Hospital in the rain swept capital Dhaka reported an unusual rush of patients, mostly women and children, seeking treatment for stomach ailments.

Heavy rainfall from a low pressure in the Bay of Bengal created late monsoon inundations disrupting normal life and businesses in Dhaka and the southern port city of Chittagong

The downpours also snapped road and rail links and submerged newly planted vegetable crops for the upcoming winter.

Media reports quoting local sources said the death toll from the outbreak of the epidemic has been mounting in bordering districts of Kurigram and Gaibandha where thousands huddled together in make-shift flood shelters. dpa af sr

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