Sunday February 17, 2019
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Sudan Suffers From A Chikungunya Outbreak

Activists on social media said the number of people infected by the disease was much higher than the government's figure and that there had been deaths not documented by the government.

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chikungunya, maternal mortality
A woman sits inside a mosquito tent in the town of Abyei, Sudan. VOA

More than 11,000 people in Sudan’s eastern state of Kassala have been infected over the past month by Chikungunya, a debilitating mosquito-borne viral disease, but no deaths have been reported, a Sudanese official said Tuesday.

Chikungunya is spread by two mosquito species and can cause severe symptoms, which develop three to seven days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. They include high fever, headache, muscle pain, back pain and rash. In rare cases, it is fatal. There are no dedicated treatments or vaccines for Chikungunya.

“So far official statistics say that about 11,000 people were infected, and there haven’t been any documented cases of death because of the Chikungunya fever,” said Magzoub Abou Moussa, a spokesman for the Kassala state administration.

Chikungunya
Omar al Bashir, President of Sudan, wikimedia commons

Heavy rains

The outbreak began in recent weeks when heavy rains pummeled the area, which led to the flooding of a major river in Kassala.

Abou Moussa said his state had received health and technical aid from Sudan’s health ministry, but expressed concern over the spread of the virus and called for further help.

Eyewitnesses said they had seen planes on Monday sweeping over the state, spraying mosquito pesticides.

Sudanese opposition parties have accused the government of failing to deal with the situation in Kassala and called for international organizations’ help.

chikungunya
Women sit in line on the ground waiting to receive food distributed by the World Food Program (WFP) in Padeah, South Sudan, March 1, 2017. VOA

“We hold the government fully responsible for the spread of the epidemic,” said a statement from the National Umma Party, the largest opposition party. “We call on civil society organizations and the World Health Organization to help the people of Kassala.”

Also Read: Sudan Stops 13 Diplomatic and 4 Consular Missions Due to Financial Crisis

Activists on social media said the number of people infected by the disease was much higher than the government’s figure and that there had been deaths not documented by the government. (VOA)

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The World Looks Forward To Eradication Of Hepatitis C By 2030

Offering direct-acting antivirals to all patients at the time of diagnosis could prevent 640,000 deaths from liver cancer and cirrhosis by 2030

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the new Hepatitis B vaccine for adults is called Heplisav-B.
The team found that implementing comprehensive blood safety and infection control measures was estimated to reduce the number of new infections in 2030 by 58 per cent.

Improvements in screening, prevention and treatment particularly in high-burden countries, such as India, China and Pakistan, can avert 15.1 million new hepatitis C infections and 1.5 million cirrhosis and liver cancer deaths globally by 2030.

Globally, it is estimated that 71 million individuals are chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus, that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation.

The virus was also responsible for over 475,000 deaths in 2015.

Viral hepatitis
World Health Organization poster for Hepatitis Campaign. VOA

To achieve the big reductions, there is need to implement comprehensive blood safety and infection control measures, extend harm reduction services (such as opioid substitution therapy and needle and syringe programmes) and replace older treatments with direct-acting antivirals in all countries.

Moreover, adding screening to these interventions can help diagnose 90 per cent of people with hepatitis C and offer treatment by 2030, according to the study published in The Lancet journal.

The estimates equal to an 80 per cent reduction in incidence and a 60 per cent reduction in deaths as compared to 2015.

Injection and medicines
Hepatitis are the commonly transmitted hepatotropic viruses transmitted due to poor hygiene, contaminated food and drinking water, poor sanitation, Pixabay

But, it narrowly misses the elimination targets set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) — to reduce mortality by 65 per cent — and would instead be attained by 2032, the researchers said.

“Even though it narrowly falls short of the WHO targets for 2030, the impact our estimates suggest would be a tremendous stride forwards,” said lead author Professor Alastair Heffernan, from UK’s Imperial College London.

The team found that implementing comprehensive blood safety and infection control measures was estimated to reduce the number of new infections in 2030 by 58 per cent.

Hepatitis C Blood Virus [HCV]. Photo Credit: michelsonmedical.org
Extending harm reduction services to 40 per cent of people who inject drugs could reduce the number of new infections by a further 7 percentage points.

Together, this would prevent 14.1 million new infections by 2030.

But, offering direct-acting antivirals to all patients at the time of diagnosis could prevent 640,000 deaths from liver cancer and cirrhosis by 2030, the researchers noted.

Also Read: Major Breakthrough Made In The Treatment Of Ebola Virus

“Achieving such reductions requires a massive screening programme and demands a rapid increase in new treatment courses in the short term — namely, 51.8 million courses of direct-acting antivirals by 2030,” Heffernan said. (IANS)