November 6, 2009 (KHARTOUM) – Southern Sudan is facing a serious outbreak of kala azar, said today the medical aid group, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).
Kala azar is a tropical disease, endemic in some parts of Southern Sudan. The disease is contracted by the bite of a sandfly carrying the kala azar parasite, which multiplies inside the body, attacking the immune system.
"We suspect that the number of kala azar patients reaching clinics in some areas is just the tip of the iceberg," said Dr. David Kidinda, MSF Medical Coordinator in southern Sudan in a statement released today.
At least 382 cases have been recorded in Upper Nile and Jonglei states in Southern Sudan since October. Two people were killed by the disease.
According to the international medical NGO, Jonglei is the most affected area with 275 cases in the Old Fangak clinic in northwest of the state. In Pibor where 24 patients were admitted at the MSF center two died from the disease. The group also recorded 46 kala azar patients at its clinic in Lankien.
Following reports about 66 kala azar cases under treatment in Malakal the capital of Upper Nile state, MSF team deployed in the area said 37 patients are now undergoing treatment.
Due to insecurity and lack of roads the patients made their way to MSF’s outreach health post in Lekwongole, then they are transported by the NGO to Pibor by boat, as roads have become rivers.
Patients make their way to MSF’s outreach health post in Lekwongole, as MSF teams are currently unable to access these villages due to insecurity and road inaccessibility.