In South Sudan, mystery diseases kill 89 people. WHO Taskforce sends in taskforce to study unidentified illnesses

  • Unknown diseases have claimed the lives of 89 people north of Fangak in Jonglei.
  • A rapid response team has been sent by the World Health Organisation to assist in investigating.
  • Local health officials found negative results from cholera samples

To investigate the unidentified disease that has claimed the lives of 89 people, a taskforce from World Health Organization (WHO), has been dispatched to South Sudan.

According to the country’s Ministry of Health, a mysterious disease claimed that scores had been killed in Fangak (Nord) in Jonglei State.

According to BBC, the WHO dispatched a team of scientists and rapid responders to this area. It is the most severely affected by severe flooding in recent years. They collected samples from people who were sick.

Fangak health officials said that the initial results of samples taken from sick patients were negative for cholera. 

A World Health Organization (WHO) taskforce has been sent to South Sudan to investigate an unidentified illness which has killed 89 people. Pictured: File image of Medecins Sans Frontiere (MSF) workers prepare a mobile clinic in Rubkona town, Unity State, South Sudan on November 26

An international task force of the World Health Organization has been deployed to South Sudan in order to examine an unknown illness that claimed the lives 89 people. Pictured: Medecins Sans Frontiere staff prepare Rubkona’s mobile clinic, Unity State, South Sudan, November 26

“We sent a quick response team to do risk assessment and investigations; this is when they can collect samples from sick people. But provisionally, the figure we got was that of 89 deaths,” Sheila Baya from WHO told BBC.

Baya stated that Fangak was reached by a helicopter after severe flooding. He also said that they are still waiting to be transported to Juba. 

Lam Tungwar Kueigwong is the minister of state land, housing and public utilities. He said that flooding has increased the spread and severity of malaria in Unity and led to malnutrition. 

He said that oil from the area’s fields had polluted the water and caused the deaths of domestic pets.

Flooding in North Sudan has prevented communities from accessing food, water and other essential commodities.        

An aerial view shows houses submerged in flood waters in Bentiu, in Unity State, South Sudan

Aerial view of houses that have been submerged by floodwaters in Bentiu (Unity State, South Sudan).

A South Sudanese wades through flood waters as she collects firewood in Rubkona, Unity State

One South Sudanese girl swam through flood waters to gather firewood in Rubkona.

According to UNHCR, more than 700,000. people were affected by flooding that has been severe in this country for 60 years.   

The suffering caused by the floods, including food shortages and illnesses, is putting pressure on the health facilities, said international charity Médecins Sans Frontières, which operates in the area.

MSF reported that they are concerned about severe acute malnutrition. The WHO threshold for severe acute nutrition is two-times higher than the WHO’s and there has been a doubled in the number of severe malnourished children being admitted to their hospital since the floods.

Nyatuak Koang is a mother to three boys, and one girl. She moved twice after flooding.

She stated that she didn’t know where to go to sleep and had no idea what material would be needed to protect her house.

It faces conflict, climate change, and COVID-19 almost ten years after South Sudan was granted independence in the wake of a civil war. This is according to the March statement by the U.N. Mission in South Sudan.

Nearly half of the world’s population is dependent on international food aid. Most basic services like education, health and nutrition are provided by United Nations agencies.