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Updated in 10/8/2022 12:02:09 AM      Viewed: 87 times      (Journal Article)

Microbial Agents Responsible for Diarrheal Infections in Flood Victims: A Study from Karachi, Pakistan

ST Hakim , F Afaque , S Javed , SU Kazmi , SG Nadeem
The present study was aimed to determine the frequency of water borne diarrheal infections and gastroenteritis in two of the flood affected camps of Karachi and nearby areas. Each year approximately, 579,732 people are adversely affected by this phenomenon, putting Pakistan 9th in terms of flood-affected countries worldwide. Patients and Methods: All patients suffering from diarrhea (more than 3 stools per day for the last 2 days), abdominal pain, vomiting or fever who were residing in the camps were included in the study. After taking consent, a fresh stool sample for D/R and C/S, and 5 ml of venous blood sample for CP and ALT and other viral markers were collected from each patient suffering from any of the symptoms like jaundice, diarrhea, vomiting, fever and abdominal pain during past 2-3 days. Direct microscopy of the stools was done to see any protozoal or bacterial infection. Culture of stool was also set up simultaneously. Hemoglobin % age was noted for each patient. Serology of Hepatitis E and A virus using ELISA (Anti HEV-IgM, and anti HAV IgM) was done in those with more than 2 times raised ALT level. Results: A total of 500 samples collected from refugee camps of flood affected areas near Karachi were included in this study. All patients were mal nourished, having below normal Hb% ages, and were suspected cases or patients of diarrhea with elevated ALT (Alanine Transaminase) values. Occult blood was found positive in 40% (200) specimens;protozoa were also seen i.e., trophozoit stage of Giardia lamblia in 45% (225) of specimens;Entamoeba coli in 95% (475) and Balantidium coli in 20% (100) of stool specimens, while cyst forms of Entamoeba histolytica were present in 35% (175) specimens. Bacteriological analysis showed high bacterial prevalence of E. coli with 63% (315), followed by Enterobacter specie with 55% (275), then 20% (100) and 12% (60) of Klebseilla oxytoca and Klebseilla pneumoniae respectively. Proteus vulgaris and Citrobacter freundii found in the same ratio of 8% (40, 39) with 2% (10) specimens of no microbial growth. Overall <0.05 P value and 95% of confidence interval level was observed. Further serological evidences for water associated viral hepatitis revealed 4% (20) positive specimens for anti-HEV IgM antibodies, and 2.6% (13) positive specimens of anti-HAV IgM antibodies. Conclusion: The present study reveals the presence of HEV and HAV associated viral diarrhea along with the presence of protozoal and bacterial infections in the flood relief camps. It is suggested that there is a strong need of natural disaster associated awareness program for general population in order to minimize the mortality and morbidity ratio associated with diseases, which can be easily controlled by managing proper sanitary conditions and supply of safe and clear water.