(Updated with details)
KATHMANDU, Aug 9: The Epidemiology and Disease Control Division has Sunday asserted the five deaths in Kalpabriksha and Kyaneshwar VDCs in Sindhuli district were not caused by diarrhea as was reported by certain sections of the media.
"The deaths in the last couple of days are due to a yet to be identified disease that causes very high fever, severe headache, difficulty in breathing, and bleeding from the mouth and nose and discharge of blood in cough, and not due to diarrhea," acting director of the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division Dr Bishwa Raj Khanal said quoting his district officers.
Dr Khanal said a team from the district headquarter reached the area Saturday itself and confirmed that the deaths were not caused by diarrhea. "We have sent a team (by road) from Kathmandu this morning for laboratory tests to diagnose the disease which looks like Japanese encephalitis, dengue, malaria or leptospyrosis," Dr Khanal said.
Another team also flew to the area late in the afternoon to control the situation while the health ministry has also requested the World Health Organization (WHO) to send its surveillance medical officer based in Janakpur to Sindhuli.
Cholera outbreak coming under control
The Epidemiology and Disease Control Division claimed that cholera is gradually coming under control. "Epidemiologically speaking, it is coming under control," said Dr Khanal organizing a press conference Sunday afternoon.
He also put the official diarrhea death toll at 256 with 144 in Jajarkot, 43 in Rukum, 14 in Dailekh, 13 in Achham, nine each in Baitadi and Surkhet, four in Rolpa, three each in Dolpa, Salyan, Dadeldhura, Bajura, and Bajhang, two each in Doti and Pyuthan, and one in Kanchanpur.
Dr Khanal also claimed that 10 out of the 144 deaths in Jajarkot were due to other reasons while the three in Bajhang died after consuming rotten meat. He further said that 50,810 patients have been treated so far including 22,765 in Jajarkot alone.
Meanwhile, the reports of stool samples sent to Bangkok for further confirmation, after tests in Kathmandu, showed them to contain Vibrio cholerae, have arrived. Dr Khanal said that a few samples showed traces of both Vibrio cholerae and ecoli.
"We had also intended to test antibiotic sensitivity through the samples. And the reports showed that the antibiotics we are administering are effective," added Dr Khanal.