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Last Updated: Friday, 9 May, 2003, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Deadly disease stalks Sudan
Sudanese refugees
The displacement of people leads to the spread of disease

At least seven people have died of a mystery illness in southern Sudan.

The World Health Organization (WHO) will send a medical team to Kitgum district, near the Ugandan border to find out what caused the deaths.

But it is too early to say whether the deaths were caused by an Ebola-like viral hemorrhagic fever, said the WHO's representative in Nairobi, Dr Abdurahmane Sow.

Local reports suggest however that the death toll from the disease may be much higher.

The Monitor newspaper in Uganda reported 45 deaths.

Ebola fear

"What we can say is that it is a serious disease that causes death," Dr Sow said.

"We're sending biologists up there who should arrive on Tuesday to conduct the necessary tests to determine the exact nature."

The symptoms of the disease include fever, diarrhoea and vomiting blood.

In 2000, 400 people contracted Ebola fever in Gulu district, south-west of Kitgum - but deaths were limited to 173 because of swift action by health authorities.

Civil war in southern Sudan means thousands of people are continually displaced and public health facilities are rare.

Dr Sow said his office had first been informed of the deaths by members of the relief organisation Norwegian Church Aid, which is active in southern Sudan.




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SEE ALSO:
Ebola and other tropical viruses
08 Feb 03  |  Medical notes
My brush with Ebola
11 Mar 03  |  Africa
Congo Ebola 'under control'
08 Apr 03  |  Africa
Country profile: Sudan
03 Mar 03  |  Country profiles


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