Cholera cases in South Su­dan spike, out­break spreads

African Independent - - HEALTH - MAGDALENA MIS

NEARLY 3 000 peo­ple in wartorn South Su­dan have con­tracted cholera since July, the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion re­ported this week, warn­ing the out­break had now spread to a re­gion where con­flict is ham­per­ing ef­forts to tackle the deadly dis­ease.

“Unity State is where we’re fo­cus­ing our ef­forts now. There’s an ac­tive con­flict, so it’s not easy to con­trol but we’re do­ing our best,” said Us­man Ab­dul­mu­mini, WHO South Su­dan coun­try rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

An in­testi­nal in­fec­tion of­ten linked to con­tam­i­nated drink­ing wa­ter, cholera causes di­ar­rhoea and vom­it­ing, leav­ing small chil­dren es­pe­cially vul­ner­a­ble to death from de­hy­dra­tion.

The out­break has caused 44 deaths and spread to nine of South Su­dan’s 28 states, WHO said.

But Ab­dul­mu­mini said the dis­ease was no longer spread­ing in the cap­i­tal Juba, which has ac­counted for about two-thirds of cases.

“The out­break con­tin­ues but the good news is we have con­trolled it in most of the states.

“We’re not afraid that it’s get­ting out of hand.”

Unity State has ex­pe­ri­enced some of the worst vi­o­lence since fight­ing erupted at the end of 2013 be­tween sol­diers loyal to Pres­i­dent Salva Kiir and those back­ing his for­mer deputy Riek Machar. They signed a peace deal last year but vi­o­lence con­tin­ues.

The con­flict has killed thou­sands, up­rooted 2.5 mil­lion peo­ple and caused a ma­jor hunger cri­sis. More than 6.1 mil­lion are in need of aid, the In­ter­na­tional Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Mi­gra­tion said.

Unicef has warned the cholera out­break could lead to a dev­as­tat­ing loss of life if it spreads to con­flict-hit states where health fa­cil­i­ties have been de­stroyed. – Thom­son Reuters Foun­da­tion

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