SUDAN: Surge in malaria cases in Bahr el Ghazal
NAIROBI, 18 November 2003 (IRIN) - The Medecins Sans Frontieres international humanitarian organisation has said its teams are treating over 5,000 malaria patients each week in Bahr el Ghazal province, south central Sudan, following an outbreak of the disease in the region.
The agency said its team had treated 52,000 patients since the end of June, including 800 severe cases - a marked increase from previous years. It was still expecting to treat a high number patients until the end of the year.
"Malaria is endemic in this region, but there has been a sustained increase in the numbers of cases this year, compared with previous years," Greg Elder, MSF medical coordinator for Sudan said in a statement.
According to Elder, the number of consultations and hospitalisations in Akuem, one of its treatment locations in Bahr el Ghazal, "exploded" in July, a month earlier than the usual peak of August.
MSF has attributed this year's surge in malaria cases to the unusually heavy rains, which converted most of the region into marshland.
The organisation said it had set up additional mobile clinics in the region.
"Two years of drought and a heavier rainy season have created ideal conditions for the mosquito, the vector of malaria," the MSF statement added.
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