Khartoum — According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Sudanese Ministry of Health has recently reported an increase in the number of suspected dengue fever cases during the period between 2 October and 8 December.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported in its latest biweekly humanitarian bulletin that a total of 137 suspected cases, including three deaths, were reported from Khartoum, East and West Darfur, South Kordofan, River Nile and El Gezira states, Kassala and Red Sea states in this period.
The highest number of cases (118 suspected cases with no associated deaths) was reported in Kassala, likely related to strong case detection and management capacity by the state's Ministry of Health. Out of 49 blood samples taken from Kassala and Khartoum, 40 tested positive for dengue (39 from Kassala, 1 from Khartoum).
In response, the federal Ministry of Health, the Kassala health authorities, in cooperation with WHO activated a response plan. Mosquito repellents have been distributed to 10,000 school children in Kassala. Volunteers visited 2,500 houses to raise awareness about indoor vector control activities.
In order to contain the current suspected outbreak in the country, the federal Ministry of Health has actively worked to strengthen surveillance for early detection of suspected cases as well as strengthen entomological surveillance and vector control measures, OCHA reported.
Additionally, partners have agreed on standardised case definition and the distribution of guidelines and protocols. Risk communication should play a major role in the community to increase awareness about protective measures needed to reduce exposure to mosquito bites.
The last outbreak of dengue fever in Sudan was reported in 2014 in Red Sea State, with 738 cases reported, including six associated deaths. The worst outbreak in the country was in 2010, with 4,008 cases and 12 deaths reported, according to the WHO's most recent Epidemiological Monitor.
Dengue fever is transmitted through the bite of infected the female Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same species that transmits yellow fever. With similar symptoms to malaria, such as febrile conditions, and head ache, characteristic of dengue fever is a skin rash and lethargy.
Generally lasting seven days, it manifests after a 14-day incubation period after the mosquito bite. It affects infants, young children and adults, and seldom causes death, but may evolve in a small sample of cases to a life-threatening haemorrhagic fever.
Recovery from infection provides lifelong immunity against the virus.