Sudan's Ministry of Health is insisting that 265 deaths and more than 16,000 infections have been caused by "acute watery diarrhoea" in 11 of the country's 18 states and are not the result of an outbreak of cholera, BBC News reported.
According to the reports, the Federal Minister of Health, Bahar Abu Garda, told parliament that the cases of "watery diarrhoea" was not a federal health issue but came under the responsibility of the Ministry of Water Resources and the respective state ministries.
The ministry did not confirm the period in which the deaths occurred but unverified reports on social media suggested that the outbreak began as far back as August 2016 but has spiralled in the last few months. Sudanese twitter users have been sharply critical of the government's response to the health crisis and are using the hashtag #CholeraInSudan in a bid to attract international attention and to pressurise the government to do more.
Last month, protestors staged a demonstration outside the Ministry of Health demanding that more be done in the White Nile state where the highest number of deaths has been recorded.
Last week, the United States Embassy in Sudan warned American nationals against "a cholera outbreak" saying in a statement that there had been "confirmed cases and fatalities in some areas of Sudan including the greater Khartoum metropolitan areas". The embassy issued advice to staff on hygiene practices and how to safely consume food and drink.
Khartoum's State Health Minister, Mamoun Hamaida, also confirmed on 2 June some 120 cases of watery diarrhoea in the Sudanese capital, which had killed two people.
Cholera and "watery diarrhoea" are both acute water-borne infections caused by the ingestion of contaminated food or water. Cholera is caused by the vibrio cholera bacterium and results in frequent bowel movements and severe vomiting. Diarrhoea is caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites and results in excessive discharge of watery stools, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).