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Chikungunya epidemic in eastern Sudan: ‘25 deaths in three days’

September 26 - 2018 KASSALA
Kassala state in eastern Sudan (wikipedia)
Kassala state in eastern Sudan (wikipedia)

The chikungunya epidemic is now spreading in the rural areas of Kassala locality, multiple sources told Radio Dabanga.

They severely criticised the Governor of Kassala, Adam Jamaa, for denying that people died of the mosquito-borne disease.

“At least 25 chikungunya patients reportedly died in Kassala during the past three days,” a listener reported. “The El Hassan and El Hussein cemetery east of Kassala and the graveyard west of El Gash are daily witnessing burials of chikungunya victims.”

According to medical doctor and university professor Tajeldin Mohamedein the disease has entered the epidemic stage.

He pointed out that chikungunya leads to a drop in the number of platelets and to haemorrhages. It can lead to death among newborns and people suffering from chronic diseases.

“In general the health of many people in eastern Sudan is far from good because of poor nutrition caused by poverty,” he added.

Combat the vector

Chikungunya is a virus transmitted from human to human by the bites of infected female mosquitoes. The mosquitoes involved are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, two species that can also transmit other mosquito-borne viruses, including dengue.

Mohamedein did 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.

On Monday, Prime Minister Motaz Mousa visited various hospitals and health centres in Kassala. He ordered two tons of pesticides to combat the spread of the disease and stressed that more efforts have to be exerted to improve the environment.

Listeners told this station that the Kassala authorities transferred hospital patients suffering from chikungunya to health centres in order to disguise the scope of the epidemic.

On Sunday, medical staff closed the children’s ward at Kassala Teaching Hospital in eastern Sudan and ordered it to be sterilised after two children vomited blood.

The Governor of Kassala claims that the daily deaths are “unrelated to the disease”. He confirmed that 10,900 infections have been diagnosed. Yet, ten days ago, he acknowledged the death of seven people from chikungunya fever, and that more than 6,000 people have been infected in the recently confirmed outbreak of the disease.

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

Radio Dabanga received the first reports about the spread of chikungunya fever in Kassala in end August.


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