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Yellow fever outbreak in Sudan

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Blood specimen is being collected from a suspected yellow fever patientCollecting blood sample from a suspected yellow fever patient

19 November 2013 - Three suspected cases of viral haemorrhagic fever (VHF) in Kassala State were recently reported. A total of 40 suspected cases of yellow fever, including 10 deaths, were reported from 3 October up to 17 November 2013 in 13 localities in West and South Kordofan.

More than 80 000 people were vaccinated in West Kordofan and South Kordofan in small scale vaccination campaign conducted over the last three weeks.

Communicable disease surveillance system has been strengthened in White Nile, Gezira, Kassala, Gedarif and Khartoum.

On 31 October 2013, the Sudan’s Federal Ministry of Health notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of a yellow fever outbreak in El-Reif El-Shargi and Lagawa localities in West Kordofan state.

A technical committee has been established in Khartoum to follow up on the outbreak. Analysis of the data so far received from the field suggests that this is a focal or localized outbreak of yellow fever in an area endemic for the disease.

Initial investigation of more than 10 blood specimens was conducted at the National Public Health Laboratory in Khartoum. These samples were taken from the suspected cases in El-Reif El-Shargi locality in West Kordofan state. Of those tested, three samples tested positive for yellow fever.

WHO is assisting the Federal Ministry of Health in reconfirming the outbreak by sending all yellow fever positive samples to WHO Collaborating Centre for Yellow Fever, the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, Senegal.

Between 3 October and 2 November 2013, a total of 20 suspected cases of yellow fever were reported, including seven deaths, presenting a case–fatality rate of 35%. Patients were from Al-behara camp, Tabag and Alarda in Lagawa locality. Al-Behara is a camp for seasonal workers for gum arabic plantation. In addition, patients were originally from east Sudan who travelled a month ago to Kordofan and have started residing at Al-Behara camp. The workers usually travel in groups from east Sudan. Currently, an estimated number of 200 people are residing in the camp.

Immediate priority during this outbreak is to strengthen case management, control the vector and reinforce the disease surveillance system in Kordofan as well as in Kassala and Gedarif states. WHO through the Federal Ministry of Health has sent supplies to the State Ministry of Health comprising of medical equipment, life-saving medicines, laboratory tools, cleaning tools and disinfectant, mosquito nets and insecticides to the affected area.

Late last year, there was an outbreak of yellow fever in the Darfur region. The total number of suspected yellow fever cases has reached 849, including 171 deaths (case–fatality rate 20.1%). Three emergency vaccination campaigns were conducted with timely support from donors and active involvement of nongovernmental organizations working in the affected localities. Around five million people were vaccinated in the five states of Darfur.

Situation reports

Sudan yellow fever situation report.Issue 3Yellow fever situation report no 3

Sudan yellow fever situation report.Issue 2Yellow fever situation report no 2

Sudan yellow fever situation report.Issue 1Yellow fever situation report no 1

Key health-related statistics

Total population (000s) 40 783
Total health expenditure (% of general government expenditure) 7.2
Maternal mortality ratio (per 100 000 live births) 311
Primary health care units and centres (per 10 000 population) 1.5
Total life expectancy at birth (years) 65.1

Source: Framework for health information systems and core indicators for monitoring health situation and health system performance, 2018

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