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Published On: Sat, Dec 14th, 2013

Hepatitis E outbreak in Tanzania

Since late August, there has been  690 acute febrile illness cases with no deaths reported in the southeast African country of Tanzania.

Image/CIA

Image/CIA

Most of the patients attended to presented with headache, high fever, abdominal pain, generalized body weakness, loss of appetite and vomiting. A very small proportion of the cases had jaundice and diarrhea.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed by laboratory testing, 15 cases positive for hepatitis E.

The WHO reports fifteen out of 46 samples tested at the KEMRI/CDC laboratory in Nairobi Kenya, were hepatitis E positive – nine by ELISA IgM, four by PCR and two by both ELISA and PCR. Arrangements are ongoing for genotyping and molecular characterization tests.

This has prompted the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) to initiate prevention and control measures like opening a treatment camp, promoting environmental sanitation and personal hygiene and cleaning of water storage tank at Bukuba village where most of the initially reported cases were coming from, and strengthening surveillance.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hepatitis E is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis E virus (HEV).

Hepatitis E is most common in developing countries with inadequate water supply and environmental sanitation. Large hepatitis E epidemics have been reported in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Central America. People living in refugee camps or overcrowded temporary housing after natural disasters can be particularly at-risk.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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