Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Oh boy -- here comes the cholera...

Baghdad today celebrated the beginning of the end of a devastating three-week-long power outage.

But more than 80 per cent of the city remained in darkness - and doctors reported the first suspected cases of feared epidemics of cholera and typhoid, with no clean water yet running.

Between 50 and 60 per cent of the children brought in for treatment at the city's Al-Iskan children's hospital were suffering from dehydration and diarrhoea caused by bad sanitation and water, said Dr Ahmed Abdul Fattah, the hospital's assistant director....

At al-Iskan children's hospital, doctors were praying for their overworked cluster of generators to hold on.

"Without them, these babies, 100 per cent, would face death," Fattah said of premature infants in incubators.

Other wards held listless children with sunken eyes. Some suffered from stomach infections caused by unclean water, draining fluids from their bodies. "An epidemic," Fattah said.

"We suspect it's cholera, but can't test, because we have no lab facilities left," said acting director Dr Gassim Rahi Esa.

Doctors also were treating increasing cases of typhoid, the children's hospital said.

With clinics citywide depleted by looting, volunteers at both Sunni and Shi'ite Muslim mosques were treating typhoid and cholera cases out of clinics set up in mosque offices and wings.

With antibiotics for the infectious diseases running out, volunteer doctors at one Sunni mosque were routinely forced to split a single dose between two patients - saving their lives, but increasing the resistance of the bacteria, Dr Mosaab Abdul Wohab said....

--Herald Sun (Australia)

Yeah, I know -- to most Americans, Survivor: Iraq is over, Saddam has been voted off the island, the CNN cameras off the hotel balcony show lights on in Baghdad and now the news becomes C.S.I., with an infinite number of all-new episodes on Laci Peterson. I think things are a bit different in Iraq itself -- yes, even now.

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