Unknown Fever May Be Spreading Across Sudan

Oct 29, 2012 | Katharina Schwan | Outbreak News

Radio Dabanga, a news source from central Darfur, reports that a new, unknown fever has killed 37 individuals over the past three weeks in western Sudan, with an additional 125 infected. Residents have appealed to health authorities, such as the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO), to help manage the epidemic and impede its spread.

Case reports of this mysterious illness began to surface in early October. According to witnesses, Arab nomads and gold excavation workers have been most affected by the outbreak. However, Radio Dabanga also reported on the deaths of three young brothers, likely from the same illness. Additional cases were reported from refugees living at the Romatas camp within several days. A medical source of unknown reliability confirmed that at least two of the victims died from complications caused by measles.

Residents report that symptoms of the illness include vomiting, diarrhea, and bleeding in the mouth and nose. Death usually occurs within 24 hours of infection. Additionally, it is believed that the disease was spread to nomads passing through the area, which may escalate the extent of the outbreak. Radio Dabanga reports that the Ministry of Health in Zalingei, one of the affected towns, refuses to acknowledge the epidemic, and thus has not yet intervened.

Earlier articles, however, say that Issa Mohamed Musa Yusuf, the Minister of Health in central Darfur, has in fact confirmed the cases of unknown fever and is working towards determining the source by sending patient samples to Khartoum for analysis.

A substantial shortage in essential medicines is at the forefront of worry among both residents and health authorities. There simply are not enough doctors or supplies to dedicate towards diagnosing the mysterious illness, and treating it accordingly.


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