Cholera – South Sudan

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A cholera outbreak is declared in South Sudan after the confirmation of 8 cases in Rubkona county.

So far, 31 cases, including one death (a 7 year old child), have been reported from Rubkona town and the Bentiu IDP camp. The confirmed cases included watery diarrhoea, vomiting, and dehydration, and were admitted and treated at MSF Bentiu’s protection of civilians (PoC) facility, with all cases being discharged.

The public is advised to remain calm and follow all precautionary measures to prevent community transmission and spread in populations with insufficient access to safe drinking water, poor personal hygiene, and inadequate access to improved sanitation facilities. Sufficient supplies have been provided in Rubkona county to aid in the investigation and treatment of cases.

Photo: Vibrio tasmaniensis bacteria, a close relative of Vibrio cholerae.

Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by a bacterial infection. Symptoms may range from none, to mild, to severe. The main risk is severe dehydration, this happens sometimes within hours.

It is spread mostly by unsafe water and unsafe food that has been contaminated with human feces containing the bacteria. Under-cooked seafood is a common source.

Risk factors for the disease include poor sanitation, not enough clean drinking water, and poverty.

Cholera affects an estimated 3–5 million people worldwide and causes 28.800–130.000 deaths a year. Areas with ongoing risk include Africa and South East Asia, where it occurs in outbreaks.

Descriptions of cholera are found as early as the 5th century BC in Sanskrit.

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