Two more die as Sudan dengue fever epidemic spreads in Khartoum
KHARTOUM / OMDURMAN –
The Ministry of Health of Khartoum state has initiated several interventions, after two people suffering from dengue fever died on Wednesday. This follows criticism from the United Doctors’ Office in Sudan, which attributed the dengue fever epidemic in Khartoum and other states to the ministry’s failure to stem the spread with “sound scientific methods”.
In a statement on Friday, the ministry said that the number of confirmed cases of dengue fever has risen to 487, which represents an increase of 30 cases since Wednesday. These figures include 103 patients who are affected by both dengue fever and malaria.
The number of suspected cases has reached 1,055, which is 106 more than on Wednesday.
According to the reports, the disease is now prevalent in the densely populated Ombadda and Karari localities in Omdurman, and Khartoum locality.
The Ministry announced interventions to contain the spread of dengue fever, including inspection and home education to reduce breeding sites for mosquitoes inside homes, spraying with machines carried on vehicles, and treatment of cases, as well as activities to raise health awareness.
In an interview with Radio Dabanga, medical doctor Alaa Nugud stated that the ministry’s announcement of the first wave of the epidemic that began last year, as well as their actions in closing certain areas off to contain the spread, was far too late.
According to him, the only reason the ministry took any steps in announcing the fever’s emergence in the first place, was due to the news that had surfaced of dengue-related deaths in Khartoum.
As reported by Radio Dabanga last week, the Director of the Department of Emergencies in Khartoum, Mohamed El Tijani, said that the ministry has activated response teams and equipped isolation centres. Seven rapid support teams were formed in addition to placing first aid on standby. El Tijani pointed out that Khartoum is recording the “highest rates of dengue fever since records began.”
210 medical personnel in the state are trained to confront dengue fever, he said, adding that the World Health Organisation has provided examination equipment that shows the result within 20 minutes.
Sudan’s Federal Minister of Health, Dr Haisam Ibrahim, announced on February 15 that dengue fever had emerged in Khartoum and El Gedaref for the first time, noting two separate deaths from symptoms related to dengue fever.
Vector-borne diseases are on the rise in Sudan after recent floods. In North Kordofan, doctors in November last year called to declare the capital El Obeid a disaster area due to the outbreak of dengue fever. Sudan is witnessing its worst outbreak of dengue fever in over a decade, according to the director of the Emergencies Department at the Sudanese Ministry of Health three months ago.
Severe forms of dengue fever, also called dengue haemorrhagic fevers, are severe acute viral infections, usually with a sudden onset of fever, malaise, headache, and myalgia followed by pharyngitis, vomiting, diarrhoea, skin rash, and haemorrhagic manifestations. The outcome is fatal in more than 50 percent of the cases, according to the World Health Organisation.