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Last Updated: Monday, 12 May, 2003, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Medics probe Sudan disease
Sudanese refugees

A medical team from the World Health Organization has arrived in southern Sudan to investigate the outbreak of a disease which has killed 10 people and infected 178.

"A WHO team arrived Sunday at Ikotos in southeast Sudan and they are investigating reports of the disease outbreak both in Ikotos and nearby Imotong," Ben Parker, spokesman for the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, Mukesh Kapila, told the French news agency, AFP.

Some fear that the disease could be the deadly Ebola virus, which has previously occurred in the region.

But Mr Parker said the disease had not yet been identified.

"We are not ruling in or out any causative agents or pathogens," he said.

Ebola fear

"What we can say is that it is a serious disease that causes death," said the WHO's representative in Nairobi, Dr Abdurahmane Sow.

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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Dr Pierre Formenty of the WHO on Focus on Africa
"We are very worried"



SEE ALSO:
Deadly disease stalks Sudan
09 May 03  |  Africa
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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