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Cholera outbreak kills 45 people in South Sudan

June 11, 2008 (JUBA) — An acute watery diarrhoea epidemic killed 45 people in southern Sudan, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said today.

At least 640 people are infected by the Cholera in Sudan’s Central Equatoria and Eastern Equatoria states, while 45 people have already died, the IFRC said citing government statistics.

Cholera is an acute intestinal infection spread by contaminated water or food. It causes vomiting and acute diarrhoea that can lead to dehydration and death within 24 hours.
The water-borne disease hits Sudan every year. In 2006 there were nearly 25,000 cases and more than 700 deaths recorded.

According to government figures, at least 640 cases have been reported and 45 people have already died. With regard to current risks in Southern Sudan, IFRC’s Operations Coordinator for Africa John Roche warned underlined the need "to act quickly and limit the spread of the epidemic especially by rising awareness among local communities".

The Red Cross allocated US$241,000 from its disaster relief emergency fund to support the Sudanese Red Crescent Society in its response to an acute watery diarrhoea epidemic affecting.

The IFRC said it will distribute water purification tablets and soap to at least 360,000 people. Water points will also be treated. Around 160 Sudanese Red Crescent volunteers are already working with affected communities. It added.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimate that two-thirds of south Sudan’s population drinks unsafe water.

(ST)