Tropical disease kills 300 in Southern Sudan

November 11, 2010 12:53

Officials in Southern Sudan say an outbreak of a parasitic tropical disease has killed more than 300 people — and that the worst of the health crisis is yet to come.

The World Health Organization says the outbreak of kala azar began in September 2009 and has intensified in recent months.More than 7,000 cases have been reported this year.

The parasite that causes the disease is transmitted through sand flies. The illness mainly affects children whose immune systems are compromised by malnutrition.

The peak of the outbreak is predicted to come in December or January, coinciding with Southern Sudan's Jan. 9 independence referendum that is expected to result in the creation of the world's newest country.

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