More than 11,000 people in Sudan’s eastern state Kassala have been infected by Chikungunya, a debilitating mosquito-borne viral disease, but no deaths have been reported, a Sudanese official said.
Chikungunya is spread by two mosquito species and can cause severe symptoms, which develop three to seven days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. These include high fever, headache, muscle pain, back pain and rash. There are no dedicated treatments or vaccines for Chikungunya.
In rare cases it is fatal.
“So far official statistics say about 11,000 people were infected and there haven’t been any documented cases of death because of Chikungunya fever,” Magzoub Abou Moussa, a spokesman for the Kassala state administration, said.
The outbreak began recently when heavy rain pummelled the area, leading to flooding of a major river.
Abu Moussa said his state received health and technical aid from Sudan’s health ministry, but expressed concern over the spread of the virus and called for further help.
Eyewitnesses said they had seen aircraft sweeping over the state spraying pesticide.
Sudanese opposition parties accused government of failing to deal with the situation in Kassala and called for international organisations’ help.
“We hold government fully responsible for the spread of the epidemic,” said a statement from the National Umma Party, the largest opposition party.
“We call on civil society organisations and the World Health Organisation to help the people of Kassala.”
Activists on social media say the number of people infected is higher than what government has been reporting and there have been deaths government has not documented.