8 December 2012

Sudan: UN Concerned Over Yellow Fever Outbreak in Darfur

Photo: Norbert Domy/Sanofi Pasteur
Yellow fever vaccination drive (file photo).

Khartoum — The United Nations has expressed concern over the recent outbreak of yellow fever in Sudan's Dafur region, with more than 670 people said to have contracted the deadly disease.

Up to 160 people have reportedly died from the disease, ever since the World Health Organization (WHO) was of its outbreak on 29 October.

Yellow fever is an incurable viral haemorrhagic fever transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Up to 50 percent of severely affected patients reportedly die if not treated.

Ali Al-Za'tari, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan on Friday emphasized the serious nature of the disease, calling for urgent funding to get additional vaccines to control the outbreak.

The outbreak of the yellow fever disease, he stressed, is "very significant and the spread of the disease showed no signs of stopping."

About $1.9m, according to WHO, is required to buy more vaccines for containing the disease, as international humanitarian agencies continue to support Sudanese authorities, both financially and logistically to address the outbreak.

So far, 1.3 million people in the region have reportedly received yellow fever vaccinations.

Last month, the European Commission expressed willingness to help the Sudanese government cope with the recent outbreak of yellow fever in its troubled western region.

The Commission, in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, said it had deployed humanitarian experts on the ground to monitor the disease outbreak, now affecting the Central, South, West and the Northern parts of the war-torn region.

In a related development, the Cairo-based US Naval Medical Research Unit 3 has also travelled to the region to assist with vaccinations as the rare outbreak intensifies.

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