Waterborne Infections Grip Flood-Ravaged Areas.

Following the unprecedented deadly floods triggered by monsoon rains more than 500% above average levels, the affected people are now facing outbreaks of diarrhoea, dengue, skin diseases and other waterborne infections across the country, say health officials.

Many flood victims, including women and children, are complaining of psychological distress after losing their homes, loved ones and livelihoods, the officials added.

Public and private health officials said diarrhoea, cholera and other waterborne diseases had started killing both adults and children in the flooded areas in different districts of Sindh, Balochistan and southern Punjab, while people had also started losing lives due to malaria, but no accurate figures were being provided by the health officials.

'As many as 17,242 people, including men, women and children, were treated for skin infections at 442 fixed and mobile camps in Sindh. Diarrhoea, gastroenteritis, typhoid and dysentery are the second most common diseases among floods affectees followed by respiratory infections. Around 14,869 cases of waterborne diseases and 13,326 cases of respiratory illnesses were treated on Friday at 442 medical camps, established by the Sindh health department,' an official of the Directorate General of Health Sindh told.

Health experts and officials initially believed that around five million of the 33 million people displaced due to rains and floods in the country could get sick because of waterborne and vector-borne diseases. But doctors and paramedics on the ground say the situation is far worse as there are no sanitation facilities and no clean drinking water, and environmental conditions are making people sick at a rapid pace.

Malaria is the most common vector-borne illness in the flood-affected areas where daily thousands of patients are being reported with the deadly fever, the provincial health official said, adding that around 4,588 patients of suspected malaria had been treated in the medical camps by the provincial government throughout the province.

'But cases of dengue fever are also on rise in the flood- affected areas as well as in the cities where there is no flood at all. People are desperately looking for mosquito nets and mosquito repellent lotions, but we are unable to meet the demand,' the health department official added.

Cholera is also merging as a major public health emergency in the flooded areas of Sindh and Balochistan as around 450 lab confirmed cases of...

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