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Mysterious disease in South Sudan under investigation by World Health Organization

97 people died from the unknown disease, mostly the elderly and children under the age of 14

A mysterious disease is said to have killed nearly 100 people in South Sudan, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to launch an investigation.

According to reports, 97 people have died from the unknown disease in Fangak, Jonglei State, and the deaths mainly concern the elderly and children under the age of 14, per ABC News. The agency began investigating the outbreak in November.

South Sudan’s health ministry said symptoms include cough, diarrhea, fever, headache, chest pain, joint pain, loss of appetite and body weakness.

WHO officials have visited the region to investigate the mysterious disease. The area was recently hit by heavy flooding, so patient samples were tested for infectious bacterial diseases, such as cholera. The samples returned negative results, News week reports.

The floods are said to be the worst natural disaster in the region in the past 60 years, prompting more than 200,000 people to flee their homes. According to the report, the humanitarian aid group Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), or Médecins Sans Frontières, noted that people affected by the floods were “at higher risk of epidemics and water-borne diseases such as acute watery diarrhea, cholera and malaria “.

Sudanese refugees crowd a truck on their way to a new refugee camp to escape flooding July 16, 2012, in Jamam refugee camp, South Sudan. (Photo by Paula Bronstein / Getty Images)

In one declaration Last month MSF called the flooding “the perfect storm for epidemics”.

“People don’t have enough water or options for water storage, and there is no garbage collection, while dead goats and dogs rot in drainage systems.” , indicates the press release. “With the conditions made even worse by the influx of new arrivals [at camps], people are at higher risk of epidemics and water-borne diseases such as acute watery diarrhea, cholera, and malaria.

MSF had previously condemned the “dangerously slow and inadequate” global aid response to the floods.

“The dangerously slow and inadequate humanitarian response to this crisis is putting lives at risk. The deplorable situation inside the Bentiu IDP camp, formerly a United Nations protection of civilians site, is not a new phenomenon, ”said the MSF emergency operations manager. Will turner.

“For years, we have repeatedly warned of dire conditions, but other organizations and agencies responsible for water and sanitation services in the camp have not sufficiently increased or adjusted their activities. This paralysis results in horrific living conditions and enormous health risks for people living in Bentiu camp and makeshift camps in Bentiu town.

According to reports, more than 835,000 people in Sudan have been affected by flooding since May. Hundreds of thousands of people remain displaced.

Sheila baya, professor at the faculty of medicine at the University of Juba in South Sudan, said BBC News that non-governmental organizations provide assistance and set up mobile clinics to treat people in need of medical care.

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