Health, News

MSF: More than 2 million S-Sudanese at risk of Kala-azar

Illustration of Kala-azar symptoms. Courtesy//

The Medical charity- MSF – has said more than 2.5 million South Sudanese are at risk of getting infected with Kala-azar in the country.

This, MSF says is based on the general line of population at risk in the affected regions in the country  where kala Azar is endemic.

The organization said it has recorded thousands of cases of this disease in the former states of Unity, Upper and Jonglei in 2018. ]

“Our main Kala-azar treatment site is in Lankien in Jonglei and that is where we see the highest number of cases,” Koert Ritmeijer, MSF Kala-azar specialist told Eye Radio.

“In the last ten months we have treated 985 cases,” he said.

Kala-azar or black fever is a parasitic disease caused by bites from sand flies.  It weakens the spleen, liver, intestine and born marrow.

“Patients will have very low immunity and therefore they will easily get pneumonia or dysentery or other infectious diseases. They will have anaemia and  eventually die.”

According to the World Health Organization, outbreaks of Kala-azar occur regularly and unexpectedly in areas that were previously assumed to be unaffected.

It said the main risk factor for their occurrence is the introduction of the disease in non-immune populations through migrations from endemic to non-endemic areas.