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SUDAN: Respiratory infections, malnutrition main health concerns in Darfur,

6/15/2005 10:37pm

NAIROBI, 14 Jun 2005 (IRIN) - Acute respiratory tract infections are the most frequent illnesses in western Sudan's troubled region of Darfur, while severe malnutrition is the most reported cause of death among children under the age of five years in the area, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

In its latest update on the health situation in Darfur, WHO said between 28 May and 3 June 66,617 cases of illness were reported among the estimated 1.6 million people under the agency's surveillance.

Of the reported health incidents, 10,978 (17 percent) were due to acute respiratory tract infections, 4,157 (6 percent) were cases of clinically diagnosed malaria and 2,510 (4 percent) were bloody diarrhoea cases.

In the same period, 31 deaths were reported, the majority of them (13 percent) the result of severe malnutrition.

Among children under five years, 23,927 cases of sickness were reported; 5,505 (23 percent) of them attributed to acute respiratory tract infection and 1,291 (5 percent) to malaria.

There were 20 reported deaths among the under-five age group between 28 May and 3 June, an increase of 33 percent in fatalities compared with the previous reporting week. The deaths represented 64 percent of the total illness-related fatalities reported in Darfur during that week, WHO said.

At least four (20 percent) of the 20 deaths were due to severe malnutrition, WHO reported in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Bulletin.

During the 28 May to 3 June epidemiological week, 12 new cases of clinically diagnosed measles with no related deaths were reported in Darfur: seven in South Darfur and five in West Darfur.

There were 1,303 diagnosed cases of measles, of which there were 43 deaths, in Darfur between 22 May 2004 and 3 June 2005, according to WHO. Some 26,366 cases of suspected hepatitis E, of which there were 193 fatalities, were reported in Darfur during the same period.

Darfur has been wracked by civil war since February 2003. The conflict pits Sudanese government troops and militias – allegedly allied to the state - against rebels fighting to end what they say is the marginalisation and discrimination of the region's inhabitants.


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