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Rift Valley Fever kills 164 Sudanese

At least 164 Sudanese people killed during the outbreak of Rift Valley Fever, the World Health Organization reported.

More than 221 people caught the virus over the last two weeks, bringing the number of cases to 451, including those who died, the U.N. health agency said.

Most of the cases occurred in White Nile, Sinnar, and Gezira states, WHO said. Around two dozen cases were reported in Khartoum State, where three people died.

WHO officials were alerted to the outbreak on Oct. 18, but only determined the exact nature of the disease in early November, according to the agency.

Rift Valley Fever is normally a mild disease with a fatality rate of around 1 percent. But in patients who develop the hemorrhagic fever form, the fatality rate is at around 50 percent, according to WHO.

There is no treatment for the disease, which is spread to humans mostly through contact with the blood and organs of infected animals or from bites of infected mosquitoes.

WHO has said Sudanese officials had been quick to alert the international community about the disease, which is essential to containing the outbreak and helping those affected.

Since 1930, when the virus was first isolated during an investigation into an epidemic among sheep on a farm in the Rift Valley of Kenya, there have been outbreaks in sub-Saharan and North Africa.

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