File photo shows refugees at Yusuf Batil Refugee camp, in Upper Nile State, South Sudan.
The Medical charity Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) says an outbreak of hepatitis E in South Sudan has claimed the lives of at least 88 people, adding that many more people will lose their lives in near future.
According to a statement released by the MSF on Saturday, “We suspect this outbreak is far from over, and many more people will die…We have been doing everything we can to care for people with hepatitis E.”
Reports show that since the outbreak in South Sudanese refugee camps including Upper Nile and Unity State in late July 2012, the MSF has treated some 4000 patients.
This comes after the United Nation warned about the spread of hepatitis E among 175,000 refugees in South Sudan, saying the body was in urgent need of funds to continue its lifesaving activities in the African country.
“With funding depleted for our operations in South Sudan, UNHCR is warning today that the capacity to contain an outbreak of hepatitis E among the refugee population is increasingly stretched,” the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Spokesman Adrian Edwards said on November 9, 2012.
The disease, which mainly affects the liver, spreads through the consumption of contaminated food and water.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July 2011 as part of a 2005 peace treaty, which ended decades of war between the two countries.
The new oil-rich nation is one of the least developed countries in the world, with one in every seven children dying before the age of five due to lack of health care.