Toll in Sudan's yellow fever outbreak climbs to 131

  • World
  • Monday, 28 Nov 2005

By Benjamin Kang Lim and Judy Hua

GENEVA (Reuters) - A yellow fever outbreak in Sudan has killed another 10 people, bringing the known toll to 131 deaths out of 530 cases in less than three weeks, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Monday. 

All reported cases have been in South Kordofan state in central Sudan, but the WHO has said it fears the mosquito-borne disease could spread rapidly among people who are poor, nomadic and unvaccinated. 

The case fatality rate is 25.2 percent in the outbreak, which the health ministry said began on November 10. More than half of the known cases are in the town of Dilling. 

Some 1.7 million doses of vaccine against yellow fever, sent from an emergency stockpile, arrived in Sudan at the weekend and a mass vaccination campaign is to begin soon, according to the WHO, a United Nations agency. 

There is no immunity against the disease in the region, where it is not endemic, and there is no history of vaccination of the population over the past 10 years, according to the WHO. 

Heavy rains allowed mosquitoes to multiply and spread the viral haemorrhagic fever. Spraying of mosquitoes and their breeding places, as well as public education campaigns on the need to wear protective clothing, were under way. 

A WHO expert has arrived in Sudan, while a team of at least five international experts awaits visas and is expected to arrive within days to help control the outbreak, the WHO said. 

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