29 June 2017

Egypt Screens Sudanese Arrivals for Cholera

Photo: http://www.unicef.org
(file photo).

Cairo / El Gedaref / Nyala / El Tadamon — Egypt's Cairo airport has started screening passengers arriving from Sudan for signs of cholera because of the reported outbreak. Activists arrested during a seminar on cholera have been released in Sudan.

"The number of doctors and health monitors in arrival halls has increased to monitor the flights and examine passengers coming from infected areas," Head of Airport Quarantine Medhat Qandil said. Similar measures are already carried out in Cairo airport for people arriving from Yemen because of the cholera epidemic there.

Qandil said that any suspected cholera cases would be isolated and sent to the hospital. Sudan's government has not officially declared a cholera outbreak, reporting instead on cases of 'Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD)', the World Health Organization (WHO) told Reuters. WHO in Sudan refers to the outbreak as being acute diarrhoea, too.

Similarly, the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) reported yesterday that acute watery diarrhoea infected more than 16,600 people and so far, 317 people have died in Sudan in the past ten months. The most affected state is White Nile state.

The number is lower compared to the 820 reported cholera victims who died in May and June according to doctors of the Sudanese National Epidemiological Corporation. Though doctors in Sudan and abroad have repeatedly appealed to the government in Khartoum to acknowledge the spread of cholera, the authorities continue to bar press and medics from mentioning the infection's real name.

Arrests

Nine party members of the Sudanese Congress Party who were arrested in Omdurman on Tuesday in a security raid, while preparing an awareness-raising campaign against cholera, were released on Wednesday. They have been threatened by members of the security service, said Khalid Omar, the deputy-president of the opposition party.

Omer said in a press statement that the government should declare cholera and combat the epidemic "instead of fighting the bodies and organisations that are working to fight the epidemic".

53 dead in El Gedaref

In El Gedaref, the Central Sudanese Doctors' Committee said that 53 people have died since the start of the epidemic. Medical sources revealed the death of at least 25 people since the beginning of Eid El Fitir.

The number of hospitalised patients at the children's hospital in El Gedaref and the isolation centre has amounted to 151 cases, the committee said in a new report on cholera on Wednesday.

It reported the opening of new isolation areas at El Salam hospital, in order to receive cases coming from peripheral districts. There is an acute shortage of medical staff and intravenous solutions.

Teachers and residents of El Gedaref called for the extension of the school holiday, which ends on Sunday.

South Darfur

Six people died from cholera in Kalma camp, near Nyala in South Darfur, during the holiday from Sunday to Tuesday. 32 others were infected. Abdallah Mohamed Abdelrahman, the head of the Religious Affairs Committee at camp Kalma told Radio Dabanga that the health centres of Block 6 and Block 1 were overcrowded with patients. "A number of patients had to be transferred to Nyala."

In Sennar state, seven people died and more than ten others were infected in the area of Turous in El Dali and El Masmoum locality from 16 to 28 June. In North Kordofan five people died and 46 others were infected with cholera at El Birka area in Sheikan administrative unit in the past two weeks.

South Kordofan

Three people have died and approximately 150 others were infected with cholera in El Wakara in El Tadamon locality, between Sunday and Wednesday. The director of the El Wakara Medical Unit reported to this station that there is a lack of intravenous solutions at the centre. "If the centre does not receive medicines soon, there may be an increase in the number of cases and deaths."

In El Tadamon, the isolation centre of Um El Kheirat received five new cases of cholera on Monday and Tuesday. Two new victims were reported at the isolation centre of Delling Hospital on Tuesday.

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