21-year-old Md Rubel, a boutique shop employee from the capital’s Shyamoli area, was admitted at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B) at Mohakhali on May 30 as he had been suffering from diarrhoea.
Rubel said he fell ill after dirking lemon juice and and ‘filter’ water from a street vendor during the sweltering heatwave last week.
According to Rubel, his illness became rather worse as he took medicine without being prescribed by any registered doctor, before being hospitalised.
Like Rubel, Saiful Islam, 24, was also admitted at the hospital as he too was affected by the diarrhoeal disease after having street foods.
Saiful Islam said: “I ate grams, potato chops, beguni and peaju for iftar on Saturday (May 28). Since then, I started suffering from loose motion and vomiting.”
The duo resembled how people are getting affected by and suffering from viral, parasitic and bacterial diseases in the ongoing scorching summer days due to a change in the weather and insincerity about the proper food habit.
But, the number of people being subjected to the seasonal ailments is increasing significantly, especially since the latest heatwave that left the countrymen, especially the children and elderly people, the worst victims.
On May 30, at least 525 patients were admitted at ICDDR,B. Sources at the hospital said, on an average, 550 patients have been admitted there every day so far this year, while the figure was around 450 last year.
“Patients aging between 20 and 40 are the most in number here,” said ICDDR,B Medical Officer Dr Sharifa Nujhat, adding, approximately 10% of the patients are suffering from cholera.
Foods and water sold in the street shops are the key reason of the diseases spreading fast because bacteria increases more and more during hot weather, she said.
“There are two seasons-- one is from April to July, and the other between September and December-- when such ailments rise,” she said.
Food gets rotten quickly in bacterial attack due to an increase in temperature.
“People are becoming ill by excessive bacterial infection eating the slated foods and non-filtered water,” she further said, suggesting people to be aware of waterborne diseases.
A graph of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) depicts that some 7,60,060 people were affected by diarrhoea across the country from January to April.
In Dhaka division alone, diarrhoea affected people numbered 2,27,015, which was 29.87% of the total patients of the bacterial ailment.
Of late, mosquito-borne diseases such as chikungunya and dengue are also spreading to a great extent.
An Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) survey says some 196 out of 264 people were diagnosed with chikungunya from April to May 25.
According to the DGHS, at least 217 people were affected by dengue from January to May 24, while just 141 people suffered from the disease in the first five months last year.
Doctors and nutritionists say bacterias become more active and infectious during summer and rainy seasons, manifolding the risk of such bacterial and viral diseases. Hence, they suggest public awareness to help curb the spreading of the ailments.
Professor Dr Sanya Tahmina, director of disease control at DGHS said, said “Everybody must be concerned about own hygiene, and a healthy and pure diet.”
She also asked all to be aware of heatstroke during the unbearable temperature.
Drinking cold water, as she said, to get rid of hotness may cause sickness as well.