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Kala-Azar Disease ‘Still Raging’ In Remote Areas Of South Sudan, VOA Reports

“In newly independent South Sudan, deadly kala-azar disease is still raging in some of the most remote areas lacking basic health services,” VOA News reports. “An infectious disease carried by a parasite and transmitted by the bite of a sand fly, kala-azar causes a fever that does not subside,” the news service writes, noting that American physician Jill Seaman, who came to South Sudan in 1989, “said around 95 percent of kala-azar patients simply waste away or die after catching other infectious diseases” if the initial infection is left untreated.

According to VOA, attacks from rebel groups in the area are displacing thousands, who already have poor living conditions and nutrition, and making them more susceptible to infection. Abdi Nasir, a communicable disease specialist for the WHO, “said kala-azar usually comes in cycles about every 10 years,” the news service writes, adding, “Nasir said an outbreak that began in 2009 has now affected 25,000 people and still is raging. It is the worst in 30 years,” VOA notes (McNeish, 4/19).