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Czech Republic: Dysentery spreads in Ostrava, mainly among residential hotel residents

Ostrava, 19.9.2012 23:41, (ROMEA)

Approximately 20 patients with acute diarrhea have recently been hospitalized in the Infectious Diseases Ward of the Ostrava Teaching Hospital in the Czech Republic. News server iDNES.cz reports the patients are predominantly Romani children and their parents residing in various parts of Ostrava. Many of them have already received confirmed diagnoses of bacillary dysentery. Public health officials say that since 16 August, 30 people have fallen ill with this acute diarrheal disease.

"Patients have been coming to us for at least a week with this diarrhea. Some were released, but a few of them later came back to the hospital when it turned out they had been in contact with persons infected with dysentery," says Dr Alena Zjevíková. She said many patients are now waiting for the results of bacteriological tests which should demonstrate the causes of their difficulties. Diagnoses of dysentery have already been confirmed for several families.

Public health officials have confirmed to Czech daily Mf DNES that they have recorded 30 cases of acute diarrheal disease in both Bohumín and Ostrava since 16 August. "The disease has appeared among people accommodated in a residential hotel in Ostrava-Svinov and around residential buildings in Bohumín, Hrušov and Vítkovice," said Radim Mudra of the Regional Hygiene Station in Ostrava.

Public health officials have recorded the highest number of diseased persons as coming from the residential hotel in Ostrava-Svinov. "The disease gradually spread throughout nine families there," Mudra said.

"Children, mainly, are falling ill, but a few parents have also caught the disease. It is possible to contract the disease repeatedly. None of our patients are in critical condition, but they need care that is a bit different," said Dr Zjevíková.

"According to the information reported at a meeting with the Hygiene Station, about 14 people living at the residential hotel in Svinov-Dubí have fallen ill. One or two people living in residential buildings in Hrušov, Mariánské Hory, and Vítkovice have also contracted the illness," said activist Kumar Vishwanathan.

According to Dr Zjevíková, good hygiene is the best way to prevent the disease from spreading. "Washing your hands is the basis," she said. NGOs are assisting with outreach to the affected populations, distributing leaflets and speaking with people in the localities at risk.

"For the time being, no cases of dysentery have appeared on Přednádraží street, even though there is only one tap with running water available to the residents and the electricity is no longer on in three of the buildings. Nevertheless, we will inform the residents there to be careful not to catch it," Vishwanathan said.

Children from families that have become infected are not allowed to go to school. "We learned about the dysentery outbreak on Monday. On that day only one pupil who had been in contact with those who were infected came to the local school. As of Tuesday he did not come to school," said the Mayor of Ostrava-Svinov, Eva Poštová.

"Everyone who has come into contact with those who are infected is under medical supervision. They must be examined by a doctor and must provide samples for laboratory testing," said Radim Mudra.

One to five days after being infected with bacillary dysentery, the symptoms are usually abdominal cramping and pain, higher temperatures including fever, and diarrhea which often includes phlegm and sometimes even blood. However, the disease can also cause only light symptoms, even without diarrhea.

Gwendolyn Albert, iDNES.cz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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