Home | News    Thursday 6 September 2007

After floods, disease hits nearly 1000 in east Sudan


September 5, 2007 (KHARTOUM) — Nearly 1,000 people have had acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) spread by flood waters in eastern Sudan, and 58 of them have died, a World Health Organisation (WHO) official said on Wednesday.

"The total number of cases is now almost 1,000. Fifty-eight have died," the official, Ahmed al-Ganainy, told Reuters.

WHO, which has been working with Sudan’s Health Ministry to stem the outbreak for over two months, said last month the epidemic was cholera, which is spread by a waterborne bacteria, causes severe watery diarrhoea and can lead to death within hours if not treated.

The Gedaref State Ministry of Health, in one of two regions affected by the outbreak, said last month it had set up seven "Cholera Treatment Centres" as part of a campaign to stop the spread of the disease.

A ministry report, obtained by Reuters last month, said 70 percent of samples taken from the outbreak area had tested positive for the bacteria.

The central Ministry of Health in Khartoum denies the outbreak is cholera. "It is Acute Watery Diarrhoea. It is not cholera," said ministry spokesman Fatah Malik. He said he did not know the number of cases.

Analysts say the word cholera has political and social ramifications so governments are reluctant to use the term.

Sudanese officials say this summer’s torrential rains have caused the worst floods in living memory, destroying homes and wells and cutting off access to clean water for many villages.

Last year a cholera outbreak throughout Sudan killed 700 people and affected 25,000. It was the first time in many years the disease had been reported in Africa’s largest country.


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