Cholera Outbreak in Pyay District

By Kaung Myat Min 22 July 2016

PYAY, Pegu Division — A cholera outbreak in Pyay District of Pegu Division has hospitalized almost 100 people, according to the Pyay General Hospital, which is caring for those affected, half of whom are in a severe state.

The 500-bed hospital in the town of Pyay, the district capital, first received 15 patients suffering from diarrhea and low blood pressure on July 11. The hospital staff was not used to treating this particular mix of symptoms, said Dr. Tin Shun, the medical superintendent.

“I conducted a lab test together with a pathologist and the results aroused suspicion. So, we sent the test results to the national health laboratory [in Rangoon] and received an answer on Thursday confirming that it was cholera,” said Dr Tin Shun.

He said that 96 cholera sufferers were currently receiving care at the Pyay hospital, with half being in a severe state—although no deaths had so far been recorded.

The patients, most of whom are elderly, are from Pyay, Paungde, Pauk Khaung, Pandaung, Thegon and Shwedaung townships of Pyay District in Pegu Division, as well as Aunglan Township in neighboring Magwe Division. Two urban wards in Pyay Township have been hit the hardest, according to the medical superintendent.

Following the outbreak, Pegu Division public health officers and an anti-epidemic team from Naypyidaw have been monitoring the situation across the district, conducting educational talks and chlorinating sources of drinking water.

“A public health team chlorinated a lake and artesian wells in our ward,” confirmed a housewife in Ywabe Ward of Pyay Township.

Cholera can be contracted through contact with contaminated food and water in unhygienic surroundings. The medical superintendent has urged locals to exercise rigor in their personal hygiene, and has requested local authorities ensure appropriate standards of cleanliness in local food outlets.