Diarrhea disease: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments for most common disease in India
|Diarrhoeal disease. Photo: infectiousdisease|
What is Diarrhoea disease?
Diarrhoea is defined as the passage of three or more loose or liquid stools per day (or more frequent passage than is normal for the individual). Frequent passing of formed stools is not diarrhoea, nor is the passing of loose, "pasty" stools by breastfed babies.
WHO refers to diarrhoea as a symptom of an infection in the intestinal tract, which can be caused by a variety of bacterial, viral and parasitic organisms. Infection is spread through contaminated food or drinking-water, or from person-to-person as a result of poor hygiene.
There are three clinical types of diarrhoea:
|acute watery diarrhoea – lasts several hours or days, and includes cholera; |
acute bloody diarrhoea – also called dysentery; and
persistent diarrhoea – lasts 14 days or longer.
Reasons for Diarrhoea disease
Infection: Diarrhoea is a symptom of infections caused by a host of bacterial, viral and parasitic organisms, most of which are spread by faeces-contaminated water. Infection is more common when there is a shortage of adequate sanitation and hygiene and safe water for drinking, cooking and cleaning. Rotavirus and Escherichia coli are the two most common etiological agents of moderate-to-severe diarrhoea in low-income countries. Other pathogens such as cryptosporidium and Shigella species may also be important. Location-specific etiologic patterns also need to be considered.
|Malnutrition. Photo: UNICEF|
Malnutrition: Children who die from diarrhoea often suffer from underlying malnutrition, which makes them more vulnerable to diarrhoea. Each diarrhoeal episode, in turn, makes their malnutrition even worse. Diarrhoea is a leading cause of malnutrition in children under five years old.
Source: Water contaminated with human faeces, for example, from sewage, septic tanks and latrines, is of particular concern. Animal faeces also contain microorganisms that can cause diarrhoea.
Other causes: Diarrhoeal disease can also spread from person-to-person, aggravated by poor personal hygiene. Food is another major cause of diarrhoea when it is prepared or stored in unhygienic conditions. Unsafe domestic water storage and handling is also an important risk factor. Fish and seafood from polluted water may also contribute to the
Symptoms of Diarrhoea disease
Signs and symptoms associated with diarrhoea may include:
Loose, watery stools
Blood in the stool
Mucus in the stool
Urgent need to have a bowel movement
The number of Diarrhoea disease cases in India and the world
|A post from NCBI reveals that diarrhoea alone killed over 700,000 Indians in 1999 àn more than 1,000,000 in recent years (estimated) – over 1,600 deaths each day. The highest mortality from diarrhoea is in children under the age of five, highlighting an urgent need for focused interventions to prevent diarrhoeal disease in this age group.|
Diarrhoea Treatment and Cost in India
Mild cases of acute diarrhoea usually settle without any treatment. On the other hand, chronic or persistently severe diarrhoea shall be diagnosed, and the causes will be treated along with the symptoms.
In the case of dehydration, quick and efficient rehydration is vital. The fluids can be substituted by consuming more liquids or can be taken intravenously in extreme cases of dehydration. Please note that children and old-aged people are more exposed to dehydration.
(ORS) Oral rehydration solution or salts: ORS means water that comprises of salt and glucose. The small intestine absorbs this solution to replace the lost water and electrolytes in the stools. In India, ORS costs are low so that they can be easily accessible for all. According to the World Health Organization, Oral rehydration solution can efficiently treat over 90% of non-severe diarrhoea cases around the world. The packet of ORS costs around 20 Rs. and the severe diarrhoea costs can go over Rs. 50,000/- in case of hospitalization.
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