South Sudan declares yellow fever outbreak near DRC border

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-30 04:59:53|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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JUBA, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan health officials on Thursday declared an outbreak of the deadly yellow fever viral disease in the southwestern part of the country bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Makur Matur Koriom, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Health, said a suspected Ebola case found in Nzara County, Gbudue State, near the DRC border has been confirmed positive with the yellow fever after preliminary testing was conducted last week.

"The ministry of health would like to inform the public that there is a confirmed outbreak of yellow fever in Supiri village in Nzara County of Gbudue State," Koriom told reporters in Juba.

He said a rapid response team composed of government officials and World Health Organization (WHO) staff was dispatched to Supiri on Nov. 24 to investigate and collect sample from the suspected case.

The sample was transported to Juba at the national laboratory for preliminary gene expert testing and eventually to the Uganda Virus Research Institute for confirmatory testing.

Koriom disclosed that the results were confirmed negative for all Ebola species.

"The advice given to local people is that they should only stay in Supiri until the results of the blood test is reviewed."

"They have been advised not to travel to the DRC unless it is urgent," he said, adding that they were conducting surveillance and engaging communities on the disease.

Evans Liyosi, Officer in Charge for WHO South Sudan, said yellow fever is dangerous and it can kill up to 50 percent of the people it infects and it can spread very fast within a short period.

"We will work closely with MOH (ministry of health) and other partners that are on ground to make sure that we are able to deploy more teams, train more health workers along the border," said Liyosi.

Yellow fever is a viral disease with symptoms which include fever, chills, loss of appetite, nausea, muscle pains particularly in the back, and headaches, abdominal pain occurs, and liver damage begins causing yellow skin.

The disease is caused by the yellow fever virus and is spread by the bite of an infected female mosquito. It infects only humans, other primates, and several species of mosquitoes.

In cities, it is spread primarily by Aedes aegypti, a type of mosquito found throughout the tropics and subtropics. The virus is an RNA virus of the genus Flavivirus.

Yellow fever outbreak was reported by WHO in Sudan's South Kordofan region in 2005, and the most recent in 2012 in Darfur region.

South Sudan has also increased Ebola alertness and response in the Yei, Yambio areas which border Uganda and the DRC respectively. Ebola epidemic has caused death of over 200 people in the DRC.