An unknown ailment has claimed the lives of hundreds of people in South Sudan, prompting an investigation by the World Health Organization.
Fangak is located in Jonglei State in the country’s north, and it is there that 97 people have perished thus far from the mysterious illness.
An elderly woman, as reported by Fangak County Commissioner Biel Boutros Biel to ABC News on Thursday, was the latest casualty.
According to a statement from South Sudan’s Ministry of Health, deaths have been reported primarily among the elderly and children between the ages of 1 and 14.
Officials have stated that coughing, diarrhea, fever, headache, chest pain, joint pain, a lack of appetite, and general weakness are all indications of this strange ailment.
According to Biel, the WHO team that went to Fangak has since left, but they haven’t shared their findings with local authorities.
Collins Boakye-Agyemang, WHO Africa’s spokesperson, told ABC News that the organization started looking into the outbreak in November but did not provide any other information.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reportedly tested patient samples for cholera, which is normally caught from tainted water supplies, after the region was recently struck by massive rains, as reported by BBC News.
According to the news source, however, test results came back negative for the bacterial infection.
Sheila Baya, a lecturer at the University of Juba’s College of Medicine in South Sudan, told BBC News that WHO experts were forced to fly in by helicopter to reach Fangak to do testing because of the floods.
Several NGOs, according to Biel’s report for ABC News, have already shipped medical supplies to Fangak and are now in the process of establishing mobile clinics to treat patients on the fly.
Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian organization, issued a statement last month calling the floods a “perfect storm” for disease outbreaks.
Dead goats and dogs are left to fester in the drainage systems, there is no rubbish collection, and people do not have access to enough water or water storage alternatives, according to the statement.
Acute watery diarrhea, cholera, and malaria are all on the rise as a result of overcrowding and poor sanitation conditions that have been exacerbated by the flood of fresh arrivals to the camps. Journallization.org is a great resource for those looking for interesting and enlightening reads.