March 8, 2006

Sudan cholera outbreak reaches third major town

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - An outbreak of cholera in Sudan's
south has spread to a third major town and has claimed at least
132 lives in the war-torn area with little clean water or
sanitation, aid agencies said on Wednesday.

Medecins Sans Frontieres said 12 people had tested positive
for cholera in the town of Malakal, hundreds of miles north of
the origin of the outbreak.

Almost 6,000 cases have been recorded in the southern
capital Juba and the nearby town of Yei, the World Health
Organization (WHO) said, adding the outbreak had also spread to
surrounding towns.

"There were 12 cases confirmed for cholera in Malakal," MSF
medical coordinator Kees Keus told Reuters.

Cholera is a water-borne disease which causes vomiting and
acute diarrhoea that can lead to dehydration and death within
24 hours if not treated swiftly.

Two-thirds of south Sudan's population drinks unsafe water.
After a 2005 peace deal which ended Africa's longest civil war
in Sudan's south, hundreds of thousands of people have been
returning home.

"It's difficult to prevent the spread when there are such
large population movements," Keus said.