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Published On: Mon, Jan 6th, 2014

Uganda hepatitis E outbreak sickens 344 in Karamoja, 13 dead

An outbreak of hepatitis E confirmed on New Year’s eve in the Karamoja region of Uganda has to date resulted in 344 people sickened and 13 fatalities, according to a report from the Ugandan news source, The Observer.

Image/CIA

Image/CIA

Of the 13 fatalities, 10 were pregnant women.

The Health ministry’s director general of health services, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng explained that the outbreak  is attributed to unsafe water sources like rivers and ponds, poor sanitation and hygiene and low latrine coverage in the district.

“Karamoja sub-region is prone to this disease because of its low latrine coverage and lack of safe drinking water,” Aceng said.

According to the WHO, Hepatitis E is a waterborne disease, and contaminated water or food supplies have been implicated in major outbreaks. The ingestion of raw or uncooked shellfish has also been identified as the source of sporadic cases in endemic areas.

The risk factors for hepatitis E are related to poor sanitation in large areas of the world and shedding of the hepatitis E virus in feces.

It is usually a self-limiting infection and resolves within 4–6 weeks. Occasionally, a fulminant form of hepatitis develops (acute liver failure), which can lead to death.

Fulminant hepatitis occurs more frequently during pregnancy. Pregnant women are at greater risk of obstetrical complications and mortality from hepatitis E, which can induce a mortality rate of 20% among pregnant women in their third trimester.

Globally, there are approximately 20 million incidents of hepatitis E infections every year.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page and the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show page.

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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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  1. Uganda hepatitis E outbreak sickens 344 in Kara... says:

    […] Uganda hepatitis E outbreak sickens 344 in Karamoja, 13 dead The Global Dispatch According to the WHO, Hepatitis E is a waterborne disease, and contaminated water or food supplies have been implicated in major outbreaks.  […]

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