Juba [South Sudan]: South Sudanese Ministry of Health on Sunday declared a cholera outbreak following confirmation of eight cases in Rubkona county in the country’s Unity States.

The ministry said the move follows tests conducted by the National Public Health Laboratory in Juba that confirmed the outbreak.

“Public is being urged not to panic but remain calm and observe all the precautionary measures to prevent community transmission and spread in populations with inadequate access to safe drinking water, poor personal hygiene, and inadequate access to improved sanitation facilities,” the ministry said in a statement issued in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

It said so far, a total of 31 cases including one death have been reported from Rubkona town and Bentiu IDP camp.

The ministry said the confirmed cases presented with watery diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration and were admitted and managed at MSF Bentiu protection of civilians (PoC) hospital, noting that all cases have been discharged.

The ministry reported a confirmed case of cholera from Bentiu IDP camp on April 14 and the latest is the first cholera case to be reported in South Sudan since the devastating cholera outbreak in 2017, affecting more than 28,000 people with 644 deaths.

The ministry said following the confirmation of the initial case on April 14 it has with support from partners deployed a rapid response team from April 22 to 29 to investigate the causes and support the state-level response. And adequate supplies have also been deployed to support the investigation and treatment of cases in Rubkona county.

According to the ministry, the government with support from its partners conducted two rounds of oral cholera vaccination in Rubkona county in January and March, respectively.

“The ministry of health activated a national and a state cholera task force on April 14 to coordinate all response interventions, heighten surveillance in the Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and at community levels,” it said.

According to the ministry, the cholera risk is typically high during the rainy season starts from May to the end of October.

For the last couple of years, the country has experienced devastating floods affecting more than 1 million people, mainly women and children and displacing them from their homes, livelihoods, and social services.