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Cholera has killed one kid and infected 30 people in South Sudan, the first resurgence of the illness in almost five years, health officials informed.

In a statement, the ministry said, "The Ministry of Health would like to inform the public that the cholera outbreak has been declared in Rubkona county, Unity State."

"To date, a total of 31 cases including one death have been reported from Rubkona town and Bentiu IDP camp" and health officials are investigating whether there are any others, it said.

The fatality was a seven-year-old child who died on March 25. All others infected have been treated and released from hospital, it said.

The outbreak followed a steady rise in diarrhoea cases in the affected areas, it said.

It marked the first cholera cases in the country since December 2017, which marked the end of an outbreak that began in June 2016 and killed 436 people.

Epidemiology of cholera

Cholera is an acute enteric infection caused by ingesting the bacteria Vibrio cholerae present in contaminated water or food.

It is mainly linked to insufficient access to safe drinking water and inadequate sanitation.

It is an extremely virulent disease that can cause severe acute watery diarrhoea resulting in high morbidity and mortality, and can spread rapidly, depending on the frequency of exposure, the exposed population and the setting.

Cholera affects both children and adults and can be fatal if untreated.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in early 2021 there were between 1.3 million and four million cases of cholera per year around the world, leading to between 21,000 and 143,000 deaths.

Cholera can be endemic or epidemic

A cholera-endemic area is an area where confirmed cholera cases were detected during the last 3 years with evidence of local transmission (cases are not imported from elsewhere). A cholera epidemic can occur in both endemic countries and in non-endemic countries.

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