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

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    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 .

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.