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Oral Cholera vaccination campaign underway in S. Sudan

May 30, 2018 (JUBA) - An oral Cholera vaccination campaign is underway in South Sudan and will run in 12 areas of Juba where people were identified to be most at risk in the previous outbreaks.

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A child receives an oral cholera vaccine dose in the South Sudan capital, Juba (Medair Photo)

The campaign, which started on 24 April, will run until 19 May.

The target population for this campaign is everyone above the age of 12 months.

From June 2016 to February 2018, South Sudan experienced its longest recorded cholera epidemic, with 20,000 suspected cases and 436 deaths reported in the country, the health ministry disclosed.

However, while health authorities have declared the end of the most recent epidemic, cholera is endemic in the country and is likely to return.

"The risks of cholera are increased by the inadequacy of water sources and sanitation facilities, which may be exacerbated by the coming rainy season," said Jack Rack Gomer, MSF vaccination manager.

"Together with the health authorities and partners, MSF is conducting a preventive vaccination campaign in Juba,” he added.

Oral cholera vaccine is typically given in two doses, to increase immunity and the current campaign is to administer the second dose, after an earlier round conducted in September and October 2017, which reached nearly 200,000 people in the same areas.

"A single dose of cholera vaccine provides some immunity for up to one year," said Gomer.

"The second dose must be taken within eight months of the first dose to increase the level of protection, and extend immunity to three to five years,” he stressed.

Cholera is reportedly spread by contaminated food or water, and preventive measures include improving hygiene, water supplies, and sanitation facilities.

An estimated 140,000 people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) die every year due to Cholera globally.