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Kala-azar kills 150 people in South Sudan: UN

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October 13, 2014 (JUBA) – Over 150 people in South Sudan have died from Kala-azar, a disease transmitted through sand fly bites, the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a report.

Kala-azar is endemic in remote areas of northern Jonglei and southern Upper Nile states where communities are exposed to insect bites as they often sleep without mosquito nets, the report noted.

“The kala-azar rate continued to rise, with 315 cases and 10 deaths during the last week, and a cumulative 4,939 cases and 152 deaths since January,” it added.

Out of 1,614 cases registered in the same period in 2013, only 45 people reportedly died implying this year’s outbreak, mainly exacerbated by the ongoing conflict, shows a significant surge in Kalar-azar cases.

Meanwhile, the medical charity, Medecins Sans Fronteres (MSF) said it continued to provide medical assistance to clinics treating Kala-azar patients in Lankien where most of the deaths occurred.

Last week, 300 people affected by kala-azar were reportedly admitted in its clinic in Lankien while 800 others receive treatment daily.

“The up-tick in Kala-azar cases is likely related to conflict related displacement, as non-immune populations move into endemic areas,” said OCHA.

(ST)

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