South Sudan declares cholera epidemic over
South Sudan declared a recent cholera outbreak over on February 7, 2018. No new cases of cholera were reported since the last confirmed cholera patient was discharged in December 2017. The outbreak began in June 2016 and spread to many parts of the country, including the capital, Jubba. Over 20,000 suspected cholera cases and 436 cholera-related deaths were reported during the outbreak.
Addressing a cholera outbreak in a country where 5.1 million people are in need of medical assistance was a challenge. South Sudanese officials worked with the European Union Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), GAVI, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Health Organization to address the outbreak. Working together, the partners enhanced surveillance, deployed rapid response teams, provided clean water and promoted good hygiene, and treated cholera patients. GAVI, the vaccine alliance, provided 2.2 million doses of the Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV). Workers vaccinated over 885,000 people at risk for cholera with the first round of the two-dose vaccine. Security issues prevented some from receiving the recommended second dose, distributed to 500,000 people. Armed conflict in South Sudan forced millions to flee their homes and food insecurity remains a major issue in the country. Health officials remain alert for another cholera outbreak as the next rainy season approaches.
Read more from the WHO about the South Sudan cholera outbreak here.