News / Africa

WHO Warns of Cholera Spread in South Sudan

FILE - A South Sudanese child suffering from cholera sits on a bed in Juba Teaching Hospital in Juba, May 27, 2014.
FILE - A South Sudanese child suffering from cholera sits on a bed in Juba Teaching Hospital in Juba, May 27, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
— The World Health Organization reports that cholera is spreading rapidly in South Sudan’s capital city, Juba.  The WHO says aid agencies and the Ministry of Health are intensifying efforts to stop the spread of the disease in the city and to prevent outbreaks in other parts of the country.

The WHO reports more than 1,000 cases of the disease, including 27 deaths in Juba, with unconfirmed cases reported in other parts of this war-torn country, including in Jonglei, Lakes and Upper Nile states.

 Dr. Dominique Legros, a WHO cholera specialist, says the unsanitary conditions of the displaced persons' camps and the onset of the rainy season are expected to accelerate the spread of this often fatal disease.  

“I think that we have to be ready for a situation of a large epidemic, if you want to call it an epidemic in the country.… It is very difficult to predict how outbreaks of cholera evolve.  We know that they go very fast and we have seen this, again this time in Juba.  For the moment, outside Juba we do not see, so far, big outbreaks," he said.  

Many challenges

Legros says controlling the outbreak in more remote areas will be complicated during the rainy season, as roads become impassable, cutting off access.  He says this period usually provokes an upsurge in cholera cases due to flooding that contaminates water sources.  

Cholera spreads through contaminated food and water.  It causes severe vomiting and acute diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration.  It can kill within hours if left untreated.  But, most cases are successfully treated with oral rehydration salts.

Legros says two main strategies are in place for containing the disease.  In Juba, he says aid workers are trying to improve sanitation and provide safe water.  He says they also are setting up treatment centers, so people can easily access health care.

“Then outside Juba, we have a system in place that we have already before, that we have reinforced with notably rapid tests for cholera, to detect as early as possible an upsurge of cholera cases, beginning of outbreaks, so that we can try to contain them.  And, of course, to similar settings pre-position material for treatment and staff when needed,” he said.  

Legros says security concerns because of the ongoing war hamper efforts to control the disease.  For example, an evening curfew in Juba limits movement, making it difficult for both cholera patients and health care workers to go to treatment centers.

He says a few weeks ago, WHO and partners vaccinated displaced people at a camp in the northern part of South Sudan.  But, because of heightened security, health workers are not able to return to the camp to carry out a second round.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
June 03, 2014 10:38 AM
save the children of South Sudan

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid