January 8, 2018 / 5:20 PM / 14 days ago

Three die in South Sudan in mystery outbreak - WHO

GENEVA (Reuters) - Three people in South Sudan have died of a suspected viral haemorrhagic fever and 60 of their contacts are being monitored for any infection, the World Health Organization said on Monday.

Ebola, Marburg and yellow fever are among viral haemorraghic fevers that have caused deadly outbreaks in Africa. More than 11,300 people died during the worst outbreak of Ebola, a highly contagious disease, which mainly affected Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from 2013 to 2016.

The three people in South Sudan - a pregnant woman, teenage girl and boy - all died in December and were from the same village in Yirol East county in the eastern Lakes State. But there had been no known contact among them, it said.

No tissue or blood samples were collected from their bodies for analysis, and South Sudan health authorities reported the cases on Dec. 28, the WHO said in a statement.

“The outbreak of suspected viral haemorrhagic fever in South Sudan could rapidly evolve, and critical information including laboratory confirmation of the etiology of disease is needed to direct response efforts,” it said.

National health authorities and WHO are investigating and have found evidence of zoonotic haemorrhagic illness in goats and sheep in the area, including some deaths, as well as deaths among wild birds at the time, it added.

Reporting by Tom Miles and Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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