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article imageOutbreak of Cholera in South Sudan — 72 people sick, 11 dead

By Karen Graham     Jul 19, 2016 in Health
Juba - UNICEF is reporting that 11 people in South Sudan have died in a suspected cholera outbreak. As of Tuesday morning, the agency says there are 72 cases, with 36 in the capital, Juba.
U.S. News is reporting that South Sudan's Ministry of Health has not declared an outbreak because they are still awaiting final laboratory testing for confirmation, but a cholera response plan was launched anyway, says ministry official Dr. Thomas Akim Ujjiga.
The alert was issued on Sunday after suspected cases began arriving at Juba Teaching Hospital on Friday. Of particular concern was a case that came from inside a United Nations base in the capital, raising fears that the disease could spread throughout the 4,000 or so people sheltering there as a result of the fighting between opposing army factions.
Ashley McLaughlin, a spokeswoman for the International Organization for Migration, which manages the camp, says relief organizations need to stem the outbreak "now before it gets worse," especially with the high number of displaced people in Juba and the onset of the rainy season, reports CTV News.
In 2015, 47 people died from a cholera outbreak, and in 2014, the number of dead reached 167 people. Cholera is a gastrointestinal illness spread through the consumption of contaminated food and water. The disease causes severe diarrhea, and in extreme cases, can result in fatal dehydration and kidney failure within hours.
South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in 2011. A diverse country, it is home to over 60 different major ethnic groups, with the majority of its people following traditional religions. A civil war broke out in 2013, resulting in 2.2 million people being displaced.
But even though a peace treaty was finally signed in August of 2015, a severe famine has impacted the lives of thousands of people who were already sheltering in the capital city. Now, according to the U.N., renewed fighting that started last week has caused more upheaval, with people again taking shelter in UN organization compounds, churches, and other safe places.
More about Cholera outbreak, south sudan, Displaced people, gastrointestinal disease, contaminated water and food
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