Hepatitis E under control, says Gov't
Publish Date: Jan 17, 2014
Hepatitis E under control, says Gov't
Pregnant women are the most affected because of low immunity, experts say
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By John Agaba

The viral liver disease, Hepatitis E, in Napak district, which claimed its 15th victim last week is under control, the government has said.

Rukia Nakamatte, the ministry's spokesperson, said the outbreak was under control, despite the number of reported cases rising to 527, up from 453 last week.

She said the national epidemiological taskforce and the district health surveillance teams continued to monitor the epidemic and the reported cases were being monitored in their homes.

She said several UN agencies have also joined the surveillance teams and there was continuous testing of samples from suspected cases; more health supplies, equipment, and drugs continued to be shipped to Matanay Hospital.

"There is an increase in case management," said Nakamatte.

She said no new deaths have been reported; the three pregnant mothers who were critically ill were still admitted at Matany Hospital but in a "stable" condition.

Hepatitis E was first reported in June last year, although the situation worsened around October, when it claimed at least 10 pregnant women.

Nakamatte said pregnant women are the most affected because of low immunity.

Hepatitis E is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis E virus, a non-enveloped virus transmitted mainly through contaminated drinking water.

The infection usually resolves between four (4) and six weeks, occasionally developing into acute liver failure, which can lead to death.

Globally, there are approximately 20 million incidents of Hepatitis E infections and 57, 000 related deaths every year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Hepatitis E is found in faces of infected individuals and is spread by eating foods or taking drinks that are contaminated with feaces.

The disease is commonly seen in communities that do not have clean water and pit latrines.

The ministry attributed the outbreak in Napak to unsafe water, from sources such as rivers and ponds, poor sanitation and hygiene and low pit latrine coverage.

Nakamatte said that the Karamoja region, where Napak is found, is prone to Hepatitis E because of its low pit latrine coverage and lack of safe drinking water.

Over 75% of households in the 27, 000 sqkm sub-region lack access to pit latrines.

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