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Children’s ward closed as chikungunya fever deaths mount in eastern Sudan

September 24 - 2018 KASSALA
Aedes aegypti, the principal mosquito vector of chikungunya (vectorbase.org)
Aedes aegypti, the principal mosquito vector of chikungunya (vectorbase.org)

The children’s ward, laboratory, and pharmacy at Kassala Teaching Hospital in eastern Sudan were closed on Sunday morning after two children vomited blood. One of the children died and the other was taken to the epidemiology department.

Medical staff ordered sterilisation of the ward as deaths and infections of chikungunya fever mount in Kassala state.

Adam Jammaa, the Governor of Kassala admitted the existence of daily deaths in the state, but he claims that they are “unrelated to the disease”. He confirmed that 10,900 infections have been diagnosed.

Ten days ago, Governor Jammaa 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 virus.

According to unofficial statistics issued by the popular committees that oversee the provision of graves and coffins 25 people are dying per week.

Residents have denounced reports by the authorities about the situation. A resident activist claimed that “the officials are lying and misleading public opinion with incorrect information, and prevent medical personnel from making statements to the media”.

A woman resident confirmed that “every house in Kassala is in a state of paralysis because of the large number of patients, at a time, when the governor is denying the existence of any epidemic or increased deaths”.

‘Spreading rapidly’

The head of the Health Committee in the parliament of Kassala state Abdallah Ismail said that the disease is spreading at a very rapid pace; that no house is free from a member infected with the disease, and that he, his wife and five of his children have been infected with the disease.

Ali Idris, the member of the parliament of Kassala state, has described the situation as catastrophic; MP Feisal Yasin called to hold the Federal Minister of Health and the governor of Kassala accountable for the spread of the disease.

Prime Minister Mutaz Mousa announced his visit to Kassala state on Monday, while a parliamentary delegation arrived in Kassala on Sunday to investigate the facts and know the situation of those infected with fever.

Chikungunya is a virus transmitted by the same kinds of mosquitoes that spread 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.

Residents have complained of a terrible environmental degradation, which has allowed for the spread of water ponds – the breeding grounds of mosquitoes that transmit the disease.

North Darfur

The Ministry of Health in North Darfur has strongly denied the emergence of fever unknown in the state, this came against the backdrop of El Fasher’s Teaching Hospital reception of dozens of patients from various districts on Saturday infected.

The ministry has described the fevers that appeared in emergency section of El Fasher hospital as normal that are associated with the rainy season diseases.

State Health Minister Anwar Ishag said on Saturday the emergency section at El Fasher Hospital received 66 cases of fever among them children and elderly women.

He said laboratory detection has showed that 90 per cent of the cases were malaria.


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