'BLEEDING Eye Fever' that’s deadlier than the plague has killed four and infected dozens in East Africa, as health chiefs warn the spread could be “catastrophic”.
The horrific new disease could be about to bring fresh misery to the continent – so soon after the deadly Ebola outbreak of 2014-16.
The virus – which leaves people bleeding from their eyes, mouth, and anus – is thought to be spreading in South Sudan.
Three people have already died – a pregnant woman, a teenage boy and a teenage girl – in Eastern Lakes State.
Up to 60 people are now feared to be infected, and are each undergoing tests by a team from the Sudanese healthy ministry and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
And medics are now concerned they are on the verge of a health emergency — worse that the Black Death outbreak last year — after the sudden death of a child in the Nakaseke district of neighbouring Uganda.
The nine-year-old girl died after displaying the nightmarish symptoms of the extremely infectious virus that kills up to 40 per cent of those affected.
And tests have now confirmed she died from the disease – officially named Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever – according to Xinhua news agency.
Authorities at the hospital said the body would be buried by health teams because of "sensitivity" about the disease spreading.
A rapid response health team was rushed from the hospital morgue with a body bag to collect her.
Experts from the WHO are now devising an outbreak plan and deploying rapid response teams to monitor what they fear could be a major epidemic.
The outbreak could be catastrophic, and there are now fears the disease could spread to neighbouring countries including Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, DR Congo and the Central African Republic.
The three victims in South Sudan, who died in late December, had no history of close contact – and their burials were unsupervised.
Bleeding Eye Fever begins like a normal fever before escalating when the victim starts to vomit blood.
They then begin to bleed from their orifices before suffering internal bleeding.
In a recent report, the WHO wrote: "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.
"Strengthened surveillance in affected human and animal populations is needed to facilitate rapid detection of human and animal cases and response; strengthened capacity to clinically manage any new cases is also needed in the affected area."
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