News / Africa

In South Sudan, Deadly Kala Azar on the Rise

Matthew Buru, 4, undergoes intravenous treatment for cholera at an MSF treatment center near Juba earlier this year. MSF says cholera cases are down but cases of kala azar are up sharply.
Matthew Buru, 4, undergoes intravenous treatment for cholera at an MSF treatment center near Juba earlier this year. MSF says cholera cases are down but cases of kala azar are up sharply.
Mugume Davis Rwakaringi

Officials with international medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Thursday that a killer disease is on the rise in South Sudan, just as the deadly cholera outbreak in the country appears to be under control.

As one MSF official announced in a statement that the organization has started scaling down its cholera operations in South Sudan after seeing a significant decline in the number of new cases in recent weeks, another said cases of kala azar -- the second most deadly parasitic disease in the world after malaria -- were up sharply.

The number of people seeking treatment for kala azar has almost doubled this year compared to last, MSF Deputy Medical Coordinator, Dr. Ahmed Abdi said.

"Since April, up to now, we have treated 2,000 kala azar patients, compared to last year, when we treated 1300,” Abdi said.

Most of the patients seeking treatment for the illness are in Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei states, the three states that have been hardest hit by fighting that broke out in South Sudan in December.

Displaced more susceptible

Abdi blamed the increase in cases of the disease, which is transmitted through the bite of female sand flies, on the fact that hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese have been displaced by the conflict and are living in the open.

 “If you don’t have bed nets or if you are not sleeping inside a house or a tukul, then you are more prone to the disease. Sometimes in the hospital we do have a family... in which all four children have kala azar," he said.

Food insecurity is also making South Sudanese more vulnerable to kala azar, Abdi said. U.N. agencies in South Sudan have said around four million people in the country are food insecure.

Malnutrition weakens the immune system which leaves people more vulnerable to diseases such as kala azar, Abdi said.

MSF has treated more than 16,000 children for malnutrition since January in the three states where kala azar is a problem. In Upper Nile state alone, the medical charity has treated nearly 900 people for kala azar since April this year, Abdi said.

100-percent fatal in two years

Also known as visceral leishmaniasis, kala azar "can be 100-percent fatal within two years" if left untreated, according to the World Health Organization.

In the early stages of infection, sufferers have skin sores or ulcers at the spot where they were bitten by the sand fly. If the disease is not caught early, it attacks the immune system.

Abdi said that in addition to living out in the open, which heightens the risk of being bitten by a female sand fly and getting kala azar, most people who are infected have to travel long distances to seek treatment for the disease because many health facilities in South Sudan have been destroyed during the conflict.

The rainy season only makes matters worse and Abdi said he fears some people could die on their way to get treatment.

You May Like

Islamic State Survivor: A Yazidi Girl's Tale

Sarah Said Haydar, captured a year ago while fleeing Islamic State onslaught in northern Iraq, was so traumatized by militants, she sought to end her own life More

EU, US Applaud Kosovo Law on Special Court

Joint statement says lawmakers' decision to address allegations of war crimes 'demonstrated their commitment to the rule of law and to honor international agreements' More

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Gatluakl from: south sudan
September 05, 2014 8:37 AM
many disease will happen in South Sudan as peace process in Adis Ababa become world trades mostly east Africa communities . Kala zar and cholera they all erupted in country and kills many people .

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Tradei
X
Robert Carmichael
August 04, 2015 3:07 PM
Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Growing Number of E. Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship

Most Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have long rejected the option of full Israeli citizenship, seeing it as a betrayal to their political cause - the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. But as that dream remains elusive, more and more Palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship. Zlatica Hoke reports the decision is hard for many Palestinians who say they have to be pragmatic about it.
Video

Video With No Money, More Students, African Universities Struggle

Academics from around the African continent converged in Johannesburg last week for the African Universities Summit, a chance to tackle some of the major issues facing higher education in Africa today. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Still Mired In Controversy

Voter ID laws have sparked controversy across the US. More than 30 states enacted laws requiring citizens to show identification before they vote. Against fierce opposition, the state of Wisconsin recently enacted one the most restrictive voter ID laws in country. As Jeff Swicord reports, no one can predict its impact as the 2016 election nears.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Hailed as Highly Effective

At last, there's a way to end the suffering from the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa for more than a year. Researchers say the vaccine is so effective, there may never be a major outbreak of Ebola again. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs