Mar 15, 2006 (KHARTOUM) — The International Red Cross said Wednesday that a total of 4,094 cases of cholera, including 79 deaths, were reported in the southern Sudanese city of Juba since the outbreak of the disease there last month.
- A Southern Sudanese drinks water from the Aquem river, near Malual Kon, north of Bahr er Gazal, southern Sudan, Feb 12, 2006. (UNICEF).
"As of March 7, the total number of cases of acute watery diarrhea reported in Juba was 4,094 and the number of resulting deaths 79," the Geneva-based group said in a statement sent to news organizations in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital.
Juba is the capital of the autonomous southern Sudan region. It has a population of more than 250,000 people who are known to rely heavily on polluted water from the River Nile.
The Red Cross said it has airlifted about 30 tons of emergency medical supplies to Juba in response to the cholera outbreak. Its staff is helping Juba Teaching Hospital to run and expand an isolation ward and has installed an emergency water-supply system.
"The hospital has been admitting some 20 victims of acute watery diarrhea per day. Other victims have received care elsewhere," said the statement.
It said cholera has been confirmed in Malakal, a major urban center on the banks of the Nile to the north of Juba. Thirty-four cases had been admitted to a cholera-treatment center there run by the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.
Cholera is transmitted by consumption of contaminated water and food and is linked to poor hygiene, overcrowding and inadequate sanitation. It leads to severe diarrhea and dehydration.
The first suspected cholera cases were reported at the end of January in Yei, a town southwest of Juba. Since then, the disease has quickly spread. On Feb. 6, the first suspected case was identified in Juba and a few days later the cholera outbreak was confirmed.