In a follow-up on the chikungunya outbreak in Kassala State, Sudan, the total cases of the mosquito-borne viral infection has topped 11,000, according to a Reuters report. This number is nearly double the number of cases approximately one week ago.

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

“So far official statistics say that about 11,000 people were infected and there haven’t been any documented cases of death because of the Chikungunya fever,” Magzoub Abou Moussa, a spokesman for the Kassala state administration, said.

The Kassala state government had previously reported a handful of fatalities.

Dabanga Sudan reports that hospitalized patients are being transferred to health centres to “show a decrease of their numbers in the main hospitals, according to witnesses.

A government official in Kassala state justified the action to move a number of chikungunya patients away from the main hospitals by saying it “aims to transfer the patients to health centres to ensure access to the service for free”.

Eyewitnesses told Radio Dabanga that the hospitals in Kassala town were “emptied” before the visit of Prime Minister Moutaz Mousa on Monday.

The outbreak began in recent weeks when heavy rains pummeled the area, which led to the flooding of a major river in Kassala.

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It causes fever and severe joint pain, which is often debilitating. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue, and rash.

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The disease shares some clinical signs with dengue and Zika, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where they are common. As there is no cure, treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.