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Health officials on Monday said authorities in Unity State in northern South Sudan have recorded 31 measles deaths among children aged 5-10 who recently returned from war-torn Sudan.

Duol Biem Kueiguong, director-general of the State Ministry of Health, told Xinhua that about 700 children suffering from measles are admitted to Bentiu state hospital.

“We have recorded 31 death cases of measles, and 700 children are admitted in Bentiu State hospital,” Kueiguong said adding that some pregnant returnees are also confirmed to be suffering from measles.

“All health facilities are full of patients admitted with measles. “We are conducting a measles campaign in populated areas.’’

On June 3, authorities in Rubkona County of Unity State declared a measles outbreak among returnees displaced by the conflict in neighboring Sudan.

According to the World Health Organisation, measles is caused by a virus in the paramyxovirus family, and is normally passed through direct contact and the air.

The virus infects the respiratory tract, and then spreads throughout the body, causing severe disease, complications and even death.

South Sudan now hosts more than 149,000 returnees, including refugees who fled fighting in Sudan across the 12 border crossing points, according to the United Nations.

The fighting, which erupted in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on April 15 and soon spread to different parts of the country, is being fought between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

Both sides have accused each other of initiating the conflict. (Xinhua/NAN) (

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