‘Acute diarrhoea’ cases only reported in Central Darfur

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In March, new cases of acute watery diarrhoea were reported in Central Darfur, Sudan’s Federal Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) stated this week. Zero cases have been reported from all other states where the outbreak was reported before.

The United Nations’ humanitarian coordination office (OCHA) reported the new cases in its latest bi-weekly bulletin. “Between March and April, 151 cases of acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) were reported in Central Darfur, with no AWD-related deaths. The total number of new AWD cases reported from Central Darfur from February to March is 468, with almost all cases reported from 63 inaccessible villages in western Jebel Marra.”

In spite of numerous independent confirmations (conducted according to WHO standards) that the disease which broke out in Blue Nile state in August 2016 was cholera, the Sudanese authorities still call it ‘acute watery diarrhoea’. International organisations have continued to use this terminology in their communication about the outbreak.

OCHA further reports that 17 localities in nine states have been identified for an “Oral Cholera Vaccination (OCV) campaign, targeting refugees and host communities. Vaccination will be carried out during 2018-2019.”

To eliminate the transmission of AWD, WHO and the Ministry of Health must continue response activities until four-week consecutive zero reporting is in place nationwide, in all localities.

Epidemic proportions

The spread of the infectious disease in Sudan last year turned into epidemic proportions. Doctors of Sudan’s National Epidemiological Corporation reported in early July that year that nearly 24,000 Sudanese had been infected and 940 cholera patients died.

In March this year, OCHA reported that quick action taken by the Ministry of Health and the WHO was instrumental in curbing a new outbreak of what they named ‘acute watery diarrhoea’ in Central Darfur in February. Few new cases have been reported in the state so far.