6 November 2012

Sudan: Death Toll of Darfur's Yellow Fever Outbreak Reaches 67

Photo: Louise Roland-Gosselin/ Médecins Sans Frontières
Getting a check-up (file photo): Yellow fever is caused by a virus carried by mosquitoes and it is a common disease in South America and in sub-Saharan Africa.

Khartoum — An outbreak of Yellow fever in Sudan's western region of Darfur has killed 67 people so far, according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and local authorities.

The joint report, dated 6 November, says that the outbreak has now affected 17 localities in Central, South, West and North Darfur. "As of 5 November 2012, 194 suspected cases have been reported, including 67 deaths (case fatality rate of 34.5%)" the report stated.

According to the report, surveillance shows that 83.3% of the reported cases are from Central Darfur, 7.2% are from South Darfur, 7.2% are from West Darfur and 2.3% are from North Darfur.

The new report shows that the rate of yellow fever cases in Darfur has more than doubled after previous reports at the end of October talked of 84 suspected cases and 32 death cases.

Meanwhile, the federal ministry of health said on Tuesday that it has been receiving reports of new cases of Yellow fever in Darfur almost on daily basis. The ministry complained against the control by some international quarters of the yellow fever vaccines but said it expects to receive some within two weeks.

The ministry said it needs 4 million vaccine units to counter the outbreak.

Deputy chairman of the agricultural committee at the Sudanese Parliament, Ibrahim Babikir, further underscored the gravity of the situation warning on Tuesday that the situation is "dangerous" and could become epidemic.

The MP urged the government to act quickly to contain the outbreak which, according to him, is still pretty much confined to Central Darfur State especially in Nartati locality.

He also urged the federal ministry of health to recognize and deal with the reality of the lack of vaccines and resources needed to salvage the situation. He revealed that the minister of health is due to meet the minister of finance to secure the necessary support.

Babikir further revealed that the committee of support at the parliament has already started emergency arrangements to counter the situation in cooperation with the relevant authorities and organizations.

WHO announced in the report a plan of action to counter the spread of the disease, including a vaccination campaign and training of medical cadres.

Yellow fever is caused by a virus carried by mosquitoes and it is a common disease in South America and in sub-Saharan Africa.

Its symptoms, which usually develop 3 - 6 days after the day of the infection, include headache, muscle and joint aches, fever, flushing, loss of appetite and vomiting. These could also develop to include heart, liver, and kidney failure, bleeding disorders, seizures, coma, and delirium before leading to death if not treated.

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