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Dysentery outbreak hits Prome

A mother and daughter wade through a flooded street in Prome, Pegu Division. (PHOTO: DVB)

Health officials in Pegu Division have warned of a fast-spreading outbreak of acute dysentery in Prome District caused by recent monsoonal flooding.

Local hospital administrator Dr Tint Shwan said that by 22 July more than 90 people had been treated for dysentery at the public hospital in Prome, officially known as Pyay, with at least half of them suffering from acute symptoms.

He said the dysentery outbreak was detected in five of the six townships in the district, with the exception being Thegon.

Residential areas in parts of Prome had been inundated by flooding from the Irrawaddy River since 11 July. Pegu [Bago] lies some 300 kilometres north of Burma’s largest city, Rangoon.

“There was a noticeable increase in the number of patients with diarrhoea at Prome hospital since early July, raising suspicions of a dysentery outbreak,” said Dr Tint Shwan. “We have sent samples to the relevant government officials and set up emergency health centres. We are also chlorinating the water in areas where the outbreak was detected.”

Prome MP Khin Soe Soe Kyi said, “The outbreak was caused by unclean water due to faeces. We are working with the health department to provide the necessary assistance.”

A dysentery outbreak was also reported in the town of Aunglan in neighbouring Magwe Division.

Floodwaters have caused much devastation this monsoon season in Burma, with western Arakan State particularly affected. Cases of food poisoning have also broken out due to infected water supplies.