Up to 23% of the diarrhoea patients admitted to the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), Mohakhali Hospital from 15-22 March had cholera, according to hospital data.
Following a rise in mercury, a record number of diarrhoea patients got admitted to the hospital recently, and the hospital has set up tents to accommodate the growing number of patients.
"Cholera is a matter of concern because patients get dehydrated very quickly and an adult may die within two to three hours. However, immediate hospitalisation can save the life," icddr,b Head of Hospitals DrBaharulAlam told TBS.
Heath experts said cholera spread rapidly in the summer due to a bacteria called Vibrio cholera. In this season, people have sharbat, sugar cane and other juice outside.
Prime Minister's physician Dr ABM Abdullah told TBS Liquid bowel movements, watery stool, nausea, dry throat, convulsion, etc are symptoms of cholera. Patients having these symptoms have to go to the hospital immediately.
Cholera patients have to intake an adequate amount of saline. None should have any antibiotics without consulting a doctor, he added.
From 16-25 March, 11,126 diarrhoea patients were admitted to icddr,b and none of them died.
DrBaharulAlam said there have been three incidents of "brought death" of patients, including children, in the last three days although it is yet to be determined if they had cholera or not.
icddr,b authorities said most of the patients are from the capital's Jatrabari, ShonirAkhra, Kadamtali, Dakshinkhan and Uttara area.
"The number of patients started to drop on 22 March. But from 12 am to 4 pm on Saturday, 800 patients were admitted, which is 88 more than the same period on the previous day. The number of patients is not likely to drop unless it rains," said DrBaharulAlam.
Doctors suggested that everyone should avoid unhygienic street foods and stale food at home. Water should be boiled properly to make it germ-free before drinking. Besides, washing hands with soap can also help counter diarrhoea and cholera.
Professor DrNazmul Islam, Director (Disease Control), Directorate General of Health Services told TBS, Bangladesh is yet to be cholera-free. Cholera will remain a challenge until the water supply and sanitation system is improved.
Hospitals have adequate stock of saline and cholera detection kits required to address diarrhoea and cholera, he added.
"Local government institutions can play a significant role in this regard as they are responsible for water supply and sewerage. We had a meeting with the city corporations and Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority and asked them to be cautious about diarrhoea and cholera," he said further.
Apart from Dhaka metro, the icddr,b has received patients from Tongi, Gazipur and Cumilla.
Other than Dhaka, the Barishal division witnessed 3,821 diarrhoea patients from 1-25 March, which is double the number of last month.