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More than 200 ill and one dead in Hepatitis E outbreak

By Staff Reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Hepatitis E is usually spread by contaminated water. Picture: iStock
Hepatitis E is usually spread by contaminated water. Picture: iStock

Related tags: Water purification, United states environmental protection agency

More than 200 cases of Hepatitis E and at least one death have been reported in Namibia since October last year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

A total of 237 probable and confirmed cases have been seen at health facilities in Windhoek district.

The disease is spread by contaminated food and water. All suspected patients tested negative for hepatitis A, B and C.

Annually, there are an estimated 20 million hepatitis E infections, over three million acute cases and 57,000 hepatitis E-related deaths.

The Ministry of Health is leading case management teams and all suspected cases have been referred to hospitals for treatment.

An environmental health team from the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the City of Windhoek are conducting environmental investigations to identify exposures that led to the outbreak.

WHO said Hepatitis E is rarely diagnosed in the country so it has limited capacity for laboratory diagnosis.

“The majority of hepatitis E cases have been reported from informal settlements within the capital district, Windhoek, where living conditions are poor.

“These areas are overcrowded, and have limited access to safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene. Moreover, the holiday season will likely increase the movement of people within the country.”

The agency recommended improvement of access to safe water and proper sanitation through methods including at-home water purification techniques.

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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