Upper Nile town hit by 246 cholera cases in three days

Hundreds of people have possibly contracted the disease cholera in Wau Shilluk in Upper Nile over the past few days, according to a UN report, which said the outbreak caused seven deaths.

The UN coordination office in South Sudan stated in its regular update today that 246 suspected cases were reported in the area in a period of only 72 hours.

The outbreak in Wau Shilluk prompted a ‘major alert’ by humanitarian health organizations. The area hosts about 39,000 people displaced by earlier conflict.

Aid workers have sent additional medical staff to the area, set up oral rehydration stations and hand-washing stations, and distributed soap and hygiene kits.

In total nationwide 2,613 cases of the disease have been reported as of 2 July, with 63 deaths, making for a case fatality rate of 2.4 per cent, above the emergency threshold of 1 per cent.

“Though initially largely confined to Juba County, the disease has spread, with outbreaks or alerts reported in nine of 10 states,” stated the UN report.

The outbreak has spread quickly in Torit, the state capital of Eastern Equatoria State, and 11 suspected cases were also reported in the UN base in Bentiu, where poor sanitary conditions increase the risk of the disease spreading. 

File photo: A satellite photograph of Wau Shilluk, a settlement on the west bank of the Nile north of Malakal, 17 February 2014 (UNOSAT)