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Outbreak of Chikungunya disease in Sudan

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A worker sprays insecticide to stem an outbreak of Chikungunya in Port Louis, Mauritius, March 16, 2006. Sri Lanka has confirmed an epidemic of the mosquito-borne Chikungunya viral fever, a top health official said on Saturday. REUTERS/Nita Bhalla

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – More than 11,000 people in Sudan’s eastern state of Kassala have been infected over the past month by Chikungunya, a debilitating mosquito-borne viral disease, but no deaths have been reported, a Sudanese official said on Tuesday.

Chikungunya is spread by two mosquito species and can cause severe symptoms, which develop three to seven days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito, include high fever, headache, muscle pain, back pain and rash. There are no dedicated treatments or vaccines for Chikungunya. In rare cases it is fatal.

Magzoub Abou Moussa, a spokesman for the Kassala state administration, said the outbreak began in recent weeks when heavy rains pummeled the area, which led to the flooding of a major river in Kassala.

Mr Abu Moussa said his state had received health and technical aid from Sudan’s health ministry, but expressed concern over the spread of the virus and called for further help.

Eyewitnesses said they had seen planes on Monday sweeping over the state spraying mosquito pesticides.

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