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Dengue update: 110 deaths, decline in West Darfur

November 12 - 2015 EL GENEINA / KHARTOUM
The Kalma camp for displaced people in South Darfur after it was hit by torrential rains in the summer of 2015. Such accumulated water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, the vector of dengue fever (RD)
The Kalma camp for displaced people in South Darfur after it was hit by torrential rains in the summer of 2015. Such accumulated water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, the vector of dengue fever (RD)

Suspected cases of dengue fever, including 110 deaths, were reported in all states of Darfur from October to November. There were 27 new cases reported between 30 October until 4 November, of which six patients died. West Darfur’s epidemiology department confirmed that the state is hit the hardest by the outbreak, but reported that health centres receive less suspected cases each day.

The highest number of cases and fatalities were reported in West Darfur state: 86 of the 135 people suspected of suffering from dengue fever, have died. Central Darfur reported 46 cases, North Darfur 37 cases, East Darfur nine, and South Darfur one, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported in its latest weekly bulletin.

The Minister of Health in West Darfur, however, reported that El Geneina and Kereinik localities have recorded 264 suspected dengue cases. Speaking to Radio Dabanga today, the director of the state’s emergency management and epidemiology department, Abdelbagi Yousef Ibrahim, said that the most-affected areas are Um Tajok, Kereinek, El Geneina, and Ardemata. “There is a high mortality rate, in particular among children,” Ibrahim said.

“The spraying against mosquitoes has resulted in a decline of the number of reported cases.”

“However, the number of infections is on the decline. From 10 to 15 reported cases to 3 to 4 cases per day.” He attributed the decrease to the intensive spraying campaign against mosquitoes around El Geneina and Kereinek. Additionally, a specialised treatment has been created in health centres to treat the disease.

Parliament criticism

In the Sudanese Parliament on Wednesday, Health Minister Bahar Idris Abu Garda and the director of the Ministry’s epidemiology department, Babiker El Magboul requested a clarification on the outbreak of dengue and the problematic health situation in all Darfur states.

Abu Garda and El Magboul stressed that the local administration in Darfur state governments have not put the necessary precautions to combat the spread of mosquitoes, and carry the full responsibility for the outbreak of the fever.

Funding shortage

OCHA reports that an additional $1.94 million is needed in order to fully response to and contain the fever in Sudan. The Sudanese government has provided SDG3.45 million ($561,000) for the affected states, and the World Health Organization (WHO) and Health Ministry have set up a plan for the surveillance, laboratory analysis, and vector control of the outbreak.

Dengue fever is endemic in many states, including Red Sea, Kassala, Gedaref, and South Kordofan, OCHA writes. In 2014, a large-scale dengue fever outbreak occurred in Red Sea (1,092 cases), North Darfur (132), South Darfur (48), West Darfur (24), South Kordofan (59), and Kassala (57).

Records indicate that many patients who tested positive for severe dengue fever were also infected with malaria, according to Sudan’s Health Ministry.

Nearly all infected people do not develop, or mildly develop, symptoms, the WHO said. Its employees tell families to prevent the spread of dengue and wear protective clothing and destroy larva breeding sites of the mosquitoes.

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