Hepatitis E outbreak spreads in Namibia

Namibia photo credit: Adams & Adams

At least 15 people have died and 1,569 have contracted Hepatitis E in Namibia since the disease outbreak was confirmed in the capital Windhoek in December 2017.

According to information from the Ministry of Health, the deceased included six pregnant women among other categories from the Havana and Goreangab informal settlements.

The outbreak has since spread from the capital to other administrative regions of the country. However, the cases are largely confined to five informal settlement in the Katutura local government area of Windhoek.

Speaking during an assessment tour of emergency responses in the affected settlements Friday, US ambassador to Namibia Lisa Johnson said Washington will help Namibia fight the Hepatitis E outbreak.

“We are seeing that there are still new cases in the areas of Windhoek every week and that’s actually not to be unexpected, it does take months to get the hepatitis E outbreak under control.

“We will continue to assist, and I think by mid-July the National Health Emergency National Committee will have some sort of 6 months response review to see how we are doing altogether, and what needs to be done next,” Johnson said.

The US embassy in Windhoek is negotiating with the Namibian health ministry to weigh the possibility of deploying a second team of epidemiologists from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide Namibia with medical and technical assistance.

Hepatitis E is a liver infection that is spread through direct contact with faecal tissues from an infected person or by indirect faecal contamination of food or water sources. Pregnant women who get infected are at greater risk of acute liver failure, foetal loss and death.

 

 

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