Cholera Death Toll In Juba Reaches 23

Women and children waiting to receive medical attention after cholera outbreak in South Sudan. [Courtesy photo]

Hundreds of patients are now admitted in Juba Teaching hospital and other cholera treatment centers in Juba. “So far as of yesterday May 26, we have over 670 cases that have received treatment in Juba Teaching Hospital and in another cholera treatment center in Gurye and also other facilities within the town,” Abdinaisir Abubakar, an official from the WHO told press Tuesday in Juba. 

“If we calculate the case fatality rate as of today is 3.4% which is above the average because normally it has to be less than 1% to keep it.” There are suspected cases of cholera outbreak in other States; Jonglei, Lakes, and Upper Nile but there is no “confirmation” yet, Abdinaisir said, adding they are still investigating on the cases.

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said its working on decongesting some of its camps in the country as a move forward to minimize further outbreak of the disease. “The sides need to be emptied since February we were looking on how to decongest the sites.

The ultimate goal again is to empty some of these sites especially Juba, Tomping because it’s really not appropriate and suitable for long term occupancy,” Ariane Quentier, UNMISS Spokesperson said.  The United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) has called for collective effort from all stakeholders, saying the case needs to be confronted by all those who can have a role play on it. 

Brief on Cholera

Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by eating of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholera. The main risk factors for cholera in Juba are: drinking of unboiled or untreated river water supplied by water tankers, poor latrine use, and eating foods sold on the roadside and at makeshift markets.

Poor personal and community hygiene are a major barrier to public health. Open defecation and the consumption of water from unsafe sources (surface water-river and ponds) according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) remains high. Cholera was last reported in South Sudan in 2009. These factors all continue to increase the susceptibility of the Juba community to contracting cholera.

Prevention

The usual intervention strategy, in an outbreak, is to reduce deaths by ensuring prompt access to adequate treatment, and to control the spread of the disease by providing safe water, proper sanitation, and health education for improved hygiene and safe food handling practices by the community.

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