The health ministry of war-torn South Sudan officially declared a cholera outbreak on June 23, 2015, although the first case was tracked back to a United Nations camp in the capital Juba on May 18, 2015. A total of 1,212 cholera cases including 39 deaths have been recorded, according to World Health Organization (WHO) figures, with the highly contagious infection spreading from the capital Juba in Central Equatoria to neighboring Jonglei state, one of the worst-affected areas by the 19-month civil war.
The vast majority of cases remain centered around Juba, with one death recorded in Jonglei's capital Bor, a town left in ruins after swapping hands multiple times in the war, but is now under government control. Stamping out cholera, which is transmitted through water or food containing contaminated fecal matter, poses an additional major challenge for the government and aid workers.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said, "Efforts to stem cholera are being hampered by rampant inflation and an ailing economic situation. Many people can no longer afford to buy enough safe water. Many people drank filthy water straight from the Nile river. Those who still can afford it, now spend twice as much as they did just a few months ago."
In 2014, at least 167 people died in a cholera outbreak that was later contained.