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WHO distances itself from Egypt’s decision to screen Sudanese for cholera

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Egypt's Cairo international airport (Photo Reuters)
June 30, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) Friday has denied informing Egyptian health authorities about a cholera outbreak in Sudan, following reports about medical screening for Sudanese arriving in Cairo.

On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Cairo airport started to examine passengers coming from infected areas including the Sudan.

Recently, Sudanese officials declared the existence of Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) in several regions including Khartoum. Instead, U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, in a warning to its nationals in Sudan, spoke about a cholera outbreak.

Also, Sudanese opposition groups accused the government of covering up cholera outbreaks in the country pretending it was only acute watery Diarrhoea.

Reached by Sudan Tribune, WHO representative in Sudan Neema Al Gasseer distanced the international health body from the decision of the Egyptian authorities.

"We would like to emphasise that the World Health Organization does not advise any country to take a unilateral decision to examine internal or external travellers from the country in accordance with the international health regulations signed by the Member States, including Sudan and neighbouring countries," she said.

The Head of Cairo Airport Quarantine Medhat Qandil told the news agency they screen passengers coming from Khartoum to verify reported cholera outbreak in Sudan. But he didn’t specify their source.

Relations between the two countries are strained as Khartoum stopped the importation of Egyptian farming products following reports about cases of strawberries from Egypt causing chronic hepatitis and other diseases.

The two countries who have other differences over border areas failed to resolve this issue of agricultural goods and products.

Sudanese health authorities say more than 270 people were killed by the AWD outbreak since August 2016. Most of the epidemic hit border areas with the South Sudan, particularly the While Nile and Blue Nile states.

(ST)

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