Acute watery diarrhoea, dengue fever reported after rains in Sudan’s Blue Nile, Red Sea states

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Six cases of acute watery diarrhoea – which is often caused by cholera* – have been admitted to Ed Damazin Hospital in Sudan’s Blue Nile State this week. The rains have also seen an increase in cases suspected to be the mosquito-borne haemorrhagic (severe dengue) fever admitted to Port Sudan hospital.

Sources told Radio Dabanga that the isolation ward of the hospital received four cases of watery diarrhoea from Syrio, north of the Blue Nile state capital and two other cases from Ed Damazin town itself.

They pointed out that the cases have emerged after this week’s rainfall and that there has been a move by Ed Damazin health authorities to combat the disease.

Minister of Health

Last month, Sudan’s federal Minister of Health, Bahr Idris Abu Garda told a coordination meeting of ministers of the states in Sennar, that Sudan is now free of the 'watery diarrhoea' outbreak (suspected to be cholera) that hit various parts of the country during the past year.

Minister Abu Garda called for the necessary precautions to raise awareness, hygiene, and chlorination of drinking water to prevent a renewed outbreak of the disease.

His statement contradicts an earlier announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) which said that there are still patients with the disease being treated in Central Darfur. “The total number of new acute watery diarrhoea cases reported from Central Darfur from February to March is 468, with almost all cases reported from 63 inaccessible villages in western Jebel Marra.”

Suspected cholera

In spite of numerous independent confirmations (conducted according to World Health Organisation (WHO) standards) that the disease which broke out in Blue Nile State in August 2016 was cholera, the Sudanese authorities and several international organisations persistently refer to it as ‘acute watery diarrhoea’.

The WHO and the Sudanese Ministry of Health reported in mid-October that the total number of recorded cases reached more than 35,000 people – including 800 related deaths. Doctors of Sudan’s National Epidemiological Corporation reported in early July however, that nearly 24,000 Sudanese had been infected and 940 cholera patients died.

Haemorrhagic fever

Activists told Radio Dabanga that the Port Sudan Hospital wards have been full of people with fever, where a large number of the infected would prefer to receive treatment in their homes.

They said no deaths have been recorded due to the fevers and warned of the worsening situation in the event the health authorities in the state do not take measures to contain the disease.

According to the WHO, in 2017, the Sudanese Ministry of Health reported an increase in the number of suspected dengue fever cases during the period between 2 October and 8 December.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported in its latest biweekly humanitarian bulletin that a total of 137 suspected cases, including three deaths, were reported from Khartoum, East and West Darfur, South Kordofan, River Nile and El Gezira states, Kassala and Red Sea states in this period.