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North Darfur: 24 childen die of undiagnosed diseases

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  • North Darfur: 24 childen die of undiagnosed diseases

    Published Date: 2013-12-28 17:44:31
    Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Undiagnosed deaths - Sudan: (ND) children, RFI
    Archive Number: 20131228.2140993

    ************************************************** **************************
    A ProMED-mail post
    ProMED-mail is a program of the
    International Society for Infectious Diseases

    Date: Fri 27 Dec 2013
    Source: Radio Dabanga [edited]

    Residents of Saraf Omra locality in North Darfur have complained about the high death rate among children due to the outbreak of fevers. Relatives said, "24 children died in the hospital during a week's time."

    Relatives of patients in the Saraf Omra hospital revealed to Radio Dabanga that it is "overcrowded with patients, especially children." They pointed out that the symptoms of the diseases are high fever, coughs, headaches and vomiting, and that the doctors have not diagnosed the diseases. "However, they prescribe injections and syrups despite the non-diagnosis," a relative said.

    Many of the children died 2 days after the fever started; 24 children died within a week's time, according to the relatives.

    They said they had asked the hospital administration to contact the North Darfur state Ministry of Health in El Fasher and send a medical team to diagnose and contain the diseases. The administration, however, refused and gave them the phone number of the ministry to contact it directly.

    Communicated by:

    [The above news release reports 24 deaths from one or more unspecified diseases in children in a 2-week span in a "hospital" in the town of Saraf Omra, North Darfur. The diseases were characterized by high fever, cough, headache and vomiting. A previous news release on 2 Oct 2013 said that in Saraf Omra, "it is difficult to find a household without a sick patient. Sources told Radio Dabanga the most common diseases are conjunctivitis, diarrhea, cough, malaria and allergies. Local citizens noted the area has no hospitals or doctors, but only health centers run by assistants" (

    North Darfur, with a population of about 1 583 000 (in 2006), is one of the 5 states (Central, East, North, South and West Darfur) that compose the Darfur region of western Sudan ( Al-Fashir is the capital of the state. For a map of Sudan showing the location of North Darfur, see The location of Saraf Omra, North Darfur can be accessed at,Saraf.

    This region has many displaced people living in camps where malnutrition is compounded by extreme overcrowding, shortage of clean water, inadequate latrines and appalling sanitary conditions. Many families have no shelter other than small, tarpaulin-covered huts that are highly vulnerable to heavy rains and winds. However, the news release does not state the conditions in which the 24 children lived before their deaths.

    Diseases that could account for these childhood deaths include acute lower respiratory infections, diarrheal illnesses, malaria, measles, severe dengue, meningococcal disease, yellow fever, leptospirosis, injuries sustained in armed conflict and neonatal infections. In December 2012 ProMED-mail posted a report on a potentially fatal disease in Saraf Omra characterized by vomiting, diarrhea, yellow and green eyes [Undiagnosed disease - Sudan: (Darfur) RFI 20121223.1465553], and in October 2013 ProMED-mail posted a report on a hemorrhagic disease affecting children in Saraf Omra, causing "face and leg swelling, and small rashes that quickly turn into bruises" [Viral hemorrhagic fever - Sudan: (Darfur) RFI 20131016.2005262]. There had been an extensive outbreak of yellow fever in the recent past in this region of Sudan. The information given in the news release above, however, is insufficient to identify the cause(s) of the 24 deaths in children. ProMED-mail would appreciate any additional information from knowledgeable sources about these cases. - Mod.ML