The federal Ministry of Health has confirmed the outbreak of the virus chikungunya in Kassala state, two weeks after the first reports about the mosquito-borne fever appeared on the news.
The head of the emergency department at the ministry, Dr Leila Hamad El Nil, said that there are 6,250 cases of chikungunya in Sudan’s northeastern state on Monday.
She pointed out that most cases have been recorded in Kassala, the state capital, and the rest is mainly centred in the areas of western El Gash, and some districts of eastern El Gash.
El Nil said that the virus “does not lead to death. Patients suffer from a period of severe debility caused by the virus, and this situation continues for about a week.”
A parliamentary health committee had confirmed the spread of chikungunya one week ago and strongly criticised the authorities for not declaring Kassala as a ‘disaster area’. Doctors and health workers raised the alarm the week before, saying that there is no cure for the virus and that the disease is especially dangerous for children, the elderly, diabetics, and heart patients.
A health source reported to Radio Dabanga from Kassala that the chikungunya virus *, locally known as kankasha, is spreading in an unprecedented manner.
“You find patients in each and every home in Kassala,” he said. “The health centres and clinics in the state are overcrowded.”
An accumulation of waste in Kassala town is the cause for the spread of flies and mosquitoes, according to restaurant and cafeteria owners. Meanwhile residents confirmed to Radio Dabanga the overcrowding of the health centres in the various districts with patients, where El Borno district health centre was receiving about 150 cases a day one week ago. They explained that the symptoms of the disease include severe fever accompanied with severe pain in the joints and difficulty of movement.
* 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. 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.