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Sat Oct 25 08:21:22 SAST 2014

Darfur yellow fever deaths reach 67: UN agency

Sapa-AFP | 07 November, 2012 08:32
Mosquito obtaining a blood meal from a human host. File photo.
Image by: Centres for Disease Control

The number of people believed to have died from mosquito-borne yellow fever in Sudan's conflict-plagued Darfur region has doubled to 67, health officials said on Tuesday.

"As of 5 November 2012, 194 suspected cases have been reported, including 67 deaths," a joint report from the health ministry and the World Health Organisation said.

Since the last week of September, cases have been reported from 17 districts in four of the Darfur states, but most of them are from Central Darfur state, the report said.

A week ago the health ministry said 84 suspected cases had been reported from two states during October and 32 of the patients had died.

Officials are awaiting results from a laboratory in Senegal to reconfirm the diagnosis as a first step towards beginning a vaccination programme possibly by early December.

There is no specific treatment for the viral illness found in tropical regions of Africa but it can be contained through the use of bed nets, insect repellents and long clothing.

"Vaccination is the single most important measure for preventing yellow fever," the WHO said.

A 2005 outbreak of the disease in Sudan's South Kordofan state caused 163 deaths out of 604 cases over about five months.

In January 2011, 35 people died of yellow fever in the Ivory Coast, the WHO said.

Ethnic minority rebels in Darfur rose up against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government in 2003. The United Nations estimates at least 300,000 people have died in the bloodshed but the government puts the death toll at 10,000.

Violence has now eased but overlapping conflicts persist, rebel-government clashes, inter-Arab and tribal fighting, as well as carjackings and other banditry.

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