NAIROBI, May 31 Xinhua) -- Death toll from a cholera outbreak in South Sudan's capital, Juba has risen to 27 with suspected cases more than doubling from 395 cases last week to 892 , the UN humanitarian agency said on Saturday.
The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Crisis (OCHA) South Sudan said living conditions in displacement sites continued to deteriorate due to flooding caused by heavy rains, especially in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile.
"Out of the cholera cases reported, 62 percent are men and aged 20-34 years (41 percent). The case fatality rate of 3 percent is still above emergency threshold, indicating late presentation of people at health facilities," OCHA said in its latest report.
According to the humanitarian agency, community sensitization activities are being stepped up to address the outbreak, adding that various prevention measures including vaccination and awareness raising were prioritized and implemented in UN bases and camps.
Cholera broke out in Juba where five months of conflict between the pro-government troops and anti-government forces has left thousands homeless and disrupted food supplies and health services.
Aid agencies have warned the situation is dire and may worsen as the rainy season hits. Hundreds of thousands of people in South Sudan are living in displaced persons camps which are congested and lack clean water.
It said humanitarian partners scaled up activities to treat suspected cholera cases and prevent the further spread of the disease in Juba County.
"Health agencies set up a new laboratory in Juba town on May 29 to ensure laboratory testing of cases from the town and surrounding areas. In the past, samples had to be sent to Nairobi, Kenya," it said.
To improve access to prompt treatment, health partners began establishing additional cholera treatment centers in Juba, especially in the most affected areas, and are also setting up rehydration centers.
More than 80 percent of suspected cases of cholera have so far been treated at the Juba Teaching Hospital Cholera Treatment Center (CTC) which is now congested as new cases continue to arrive.
OCHA reports that a consignment of 52 diarrhoea disease kits arrived in South Sudan on May 27 and will be distributed to the states.
"These are enough to treat 10,000 severely affected people. Limited cholera vaccines and water purification tablets are complicating prevention of the disease, as well as the response to it," it said.
Violence broke out in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, on December 15, 2013 and quickly spread to several other states. Within weeks, thousands of people had been killed or wounded in the violence, and hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes.
Despite the signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement on Jan. 23 fighting between government and opposition forces has continued, especially in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states, where towns and rural areas have been ravaged by the violence.
The crisis has led to a serious deterioration in the food security situation, with 4 million currently in acute food insecurity and 7 million at risk of food insecurity.