South Sudan

Juba cholera deaths rise to 10, over 200 treated

20 May 2014 - More than 200 people have been admitted to Juba Teaching Hospital with symptoms of cholera and 10 have died of the disease since the first case was reported on 24 April, according to health officials.

Speaking to UN Radio Miraya, Central Equatoria State Surveillance Officer Yona Kenyi Manoa said three of the deaths had occurred in the hospital and another seven in communities where people had failed to seek proper treatment.

Mr. Manoa urged people showing signs of a possible cholera infection to report immediately to their closest health facility rather than visiting a pharmacist, where they might be fatally misdiagnosed.

“You have a case like acute watery diarrhoea, you immediately report to nearest health facility and then from there you will be advised to see the trained people in Juba Teaching Hospital,” he said.

“We’re still getting reports from the communities of watery diarrhoea, probably cholera cases, who have not been (taken) to their health facilities,” the surveillance officer said.

Asked where the disease had originated, Mr. Manoa said this was still unknown. “We still need to conduct an epidemiological update… to know exactly where this thing came from.”

According to a World Health Organization assessment, most people who reported to Juba Teaching Hospital with cholera were drinking unboiled or untreated water from the Rive Nile.

Other key risks are suspected to include poor latrine use and eating foods sold on the roadside or at makeshift markets. Poor personal hygiene practices (for example, hand washing) and community hygiene put the community at risk of contracting cholera.