The first laboratory-confirmed imported infections of SARS-CoV-2 in Sudan

Elham R. Aljak, Mawahib Eldigail, Iman Mahmoud, Rehab M. Elhassan, Adel Elduma, Abubakr A. Ibrahim, Yousif Ali, Scott C. Weaver, Ayman Ahmed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The rapidly growing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has challenged health systems globally. Here we report the first identified infections of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2; aetiology of COVID-19) among recent international arrivals to Sudan and their contacts. Methods: Suspected cases were identified clinically and/or epidemiologically. Samples from suspected cases and their contacts were tested in the National Influenza Centre following World Health Organization protocols. Two real-Time reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction assays were used to detect and confirm SARS-CoV-2 infection. Results: Seven cases of COVID-19, including two deaths, were confirmed in Sudan between 27 February and 30 March 2020. Suspected cases were identified and tested. As of 30 March, no local transmission was yet reported in the country. Fifty-nine percent of the suspected cases were international travellers coming from areas with current COVID-19 epidemics. Cough and fever were the major symptoms, presented by 65% and 60% of the suspected cases, respectively. By early April, an additional seven cases were confirmed through limited contact tracing that identified the first locally acquired infections in recent contact with imported cases. Conclusions: The high mortality rate of COVID-19 cases in Sudan might be due to limitations in test and trace and case management services. Unfortunately, infections have spread further into other states and the country has no capacity for mass community screening to better estimate disease prevalence. Therefore external support is urgently needed to improve the healthcare and surveillance systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-109
Number of pages7
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sudan
  • coronavirus disease 2019
  • imported cases
  • pandemic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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