The government of Sudan has banned media from reporting about spread of Ebola virus as it denies reports of suspected cases in El Geneina, West Darfur.
Media sources who asked not to be mentioned for security reasons confirmed to Africa Review that security authorities have circulated a warning to all the media outlets not to publish any news or articles related to the transmission of the Ebola virus to Sudan.
“All the press and local media in Khartoum received verbal instructions from the media administration of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) not to cover any issues related to the disease,” the journalists said.
The move by the Sudanese government comes after local media reported about suspected cases of Ebola in the western Sudan state.
The Minister of Health Affairs for the Darfur Regional Authority, Firdos Abdel Rahman Yousif, denied reports of the deadly disease in El Geneina, capital of West Darfur state.
The Sudan News Agency quoted the Minister, saying the suspected case came from Abeche in Chad.
The patient, who suffered from hemorrhagic fever, sought treatment from the health center before being transferred to a hospital in El Geneina, claimed the minister.
“After further tests, the patient was diagnosed with HIV and AIDS, started his treatment, showed symptoms of haemorrhagic fever, and later died,” the minister said.
MEASURES PUT IN PLACE
The Sudanese health authorities, however, announced measures to combat the spread of the Ebola virus across the states of Darfur, and formed committees in order to cope with the disease.
Earlier this month, the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) had imposed wide health restricted measures among its staff to prevent the transmission of Ebola to Sudan through the West African UN personnel.
Some media reports have warned of suspected cases among the West African UN staffs who are working in the mission in Darfur.
The reports quoted some local UN staff as disclosing that there may be suspected cases among the UN staff in Darfur.
However the mission denied the reports, confirming that there are no recorded cases of Ebola among UNAMID’s personnel.
The World Health Organization reported on Thursday that 1,552 deaths have been recorded so far, mostly in West Africa.
Ebola has a case fatality rate of up to 90 percent, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and is transmitted to people from wild animals and through human-to-human transmission. It said on Thursday that the outbreak that has ravaged West Africa could infect 20,000 people before it is over.
At least 3,069 people have been infected by Ebola so far in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, but the WHO said it estimates the number of cases may be two to four times higher than currently reported.