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45 dead from chikungunya in Kassala

October 4 - 2018 KASSALA
File photo
File photo

The Central Sudanese Doctors’ Committee has announced the death of 45 people of chikungunya* fever, popularly known as kankasha, in Kassala Teaching Hospital, service centres, and a number of regular health facilities. They have also recorded more than 16,800 cases of infection.

In a statemen, the committee highlighted that some of the deaths have not been reported to the health institutions. There are also cases of suspected dengue fever in the states of El Gedaref and El Gezira and the committee warned of the danger of health conditions in Sudan.

The Federal Ministry of Health and the state government denied any deaths. Commissioner Osman Mutasim confirmed at a press conference that the total number of cases is 14,300.

Health sources in El Gedaref state reported 44 cases of chikungunya fever until Monday.

The sources told Radio Dabanga that one case of haemorrhagic fever on Tuesday was placed under the isolation in the hospital and denied visit, this as well as spraying the patient’s house at Deimelnour district the neighbouring houses.

The outbreak of chikungunya fever, popularly known as kankasha, began in August after heavy rains hit the state and El Gash river flooded large pieces of land.

Medics lament the fact that there are no well-equipped laboratories in the state. “Blood samples can only be analysed in Port Sudan or Khartoum,” one of them explained. “As transport is difficult because of the rains, if not impossible at the countryside, many people die without a medical examination.”

Medical doctor and university professor Tajeldin Mohamedein told this station that he does not rule out the presence of dengue fever in Kassala as well. “The only solution is to combat the vector of the disease,” he said.

Over a week ago, health sources told Radio Dabanga that the number of patients admitted to health centres and private clinics in the eastern Sudanese state is still increasing. They complained that the Ministry of Health is distributing painkillers only.

Two per cent fatal

Activists are calling on social media for support to halt the epidemic. On Twitter for example the hashtag #KassalaIsDying is being used (#كسلا_تحتضر).

They accuse the Sudanese authorities of sweeping the real numbers of infected people under the carpet, and criticise them for not doing enough. 

Chikungunya is a virus transmitted by the same kind of mosquito that spreads dengue and Zika virus. It is characterised by an abrupt onset of fever, frequently accompanied by joint pain. There is no specific antiviral drug treatment for chikungunya. Treatment is directed primarily at relieving the symptoms, including the joint pain. Most patients recover fully within weeks, but in some cases joint pain may persist for several months, or even years. Serious complications are not common, but in older people, the disease can contribute to the cause of death.

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