Rice formulation treats better

A study in rural Bangladesh has found victims of watery diarrhoea treated with rice-based oral rehydration solution (rice-ORS) recover faster and require fewer hospitalisations than those treated otherwise (Glimpse Newsletter, Vol 14 No 4). Rice gruel has traditionally been used to treat diarrhoea. Packaged rice-ORS and glucose-ORS were supplied to two test areas and a third area was left untouched to make comparisons.

Over a two-year period, 10,000 diarrhoeal cases -- one-third of which were watery diarrhoea -- were followed up in each area. The study showed rice-ORS treatment resulted in a disease duration of two days and a 0.1 per cent hospitalisation rate, compared with four days and 0.5 per cent for glucose-ORS treatment. There was no difference in diarrhoeal mortality rates.