The Minister of Health Affairs for the Darfur Regional Authority, Firdos Abdel Rahman Yousif, has denied reports of the deadly Ebola virus disease in El Geneina, capital of West Darfur. Media in Sudan have been prohibited from covering any news related to the disease. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization reported on Thursday that 1,552 deaths have been recorded so far, mostly in West Africa.
The Sudan News Agency quoted the Minister on Thursday, saying the suspected case came from Abeche in Chad. The patient suffered from haemorrhagic fever, began taking treatment from the health centre, and was then transferred to a hospital in El Geneina, she claimed. “After further tests, the patient was diagnosed with HIV and AIDS, started his treatment, showed symptoms of haemorrhagic fever, and later died.”
News coverage prohibited
The security authorities in Sudan prohibit newspapers and local media from covering any news related to the Ebola virus disease. Last week, the press in Khartoum received verbal instructions from the media administration of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) not to cover any issues related to the disease.
The Sudanese health authorities have announced measures to combat the spread of Ebola across the states of Darfur, and formed committees in the states in order to cope with the disease, following a recent coordination meeting of the Ministers of Health in Darfur.
’12,000 Ebola cases already’: WHO
Ebola has a case fatality rate of up to 90 percent, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and is transmitted to people from wild animals and through human-to-human transmission. It said on Thursday that the outbreak that has ravaged West Africa could infect 20,000 people before it is over.
At least 3,069 people have been infected by Ebola so far in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, but the WHO said it estimates the number of cases may be two to four times higher than currently reported. If true, there could be up to 12,000 cases of infection already.
Map: Current Ebola virus disease outbreaks showing in West Africa. Past outbreaks were recorded in Sudan (three cases) and Congo, among others (National Geographic, 19 August 2014)