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

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

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

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora