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14 new suspected cases of Hepatitis E recorded

by Staff Writer

The Health ministry has recorded 14 new suspected cases of Hepatitis E yesterday, according to a press statement released by the ministry. 

Most of the suspected cases have been recorded in Windhoek’s informal settlements and the statistics indicate that there were five cases in Havana, Goreangab (5) and other locations (4) cases recorded. 

According to the summary of cases a total of 5 pregnant women have been admitted since the outbreak. 

The press release further states that the index case was in October 2017 from Katutura Intermediate Hospital and a total of 294 cases presenting with clinical signs of Hepatitis E having been seen at various health facilities to date with the settlement of Havana being most affected accounting for over 41% of the cases.

Currently, 6 patients are on admission at the Katutura Intermediate Hospital, of which 2 are in a critical condition including a pregnant mother. 

The most affected age group is between 24-39 years. 

Three lactating mothers are also suspected to have Hepatitis E and a total of 106 specimens have been processed and 31 have tested positive for Hep E antigen. 

The national, regional and district task force committees have been activated to coordinate outbreak response activities at both the regional and national level. 

Six patients are on admission at Katutura Intermediate Hospital.

A 19 year old male is currently admitted in acute care, in critical condition.

 A pregnant mother who was previously epilinked, was admitted on 11/01/2018. 

The health ministry is currently leading the case management teams and all cases are referred to Katutura Intermediate Hospital for treatment.

This remains the key referral hospital, however, other health facilities and some private health facilities continue to support with initial case management and case identification of reported cases.

Case management protocols and algorithms have been circulated to the health facilities for application and to enhance case management. 

Pregnant women form part of the high risk group, with case fatality of 20-25% during the third trimester have been reported. 

Health education to pregnant mothers on symptoms, mode of transmission, preventive measures, with emphasis on hand hygiene as part of the strategy to prevent Hepatitis E transmission, are provided during Antenatal Care Clinic (ANC) visits. 

However, provision of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities are paramount in breaking the transmission cycle of Hepatitis E.

Progress was made regarding efforts to secure safe drinking water supply to areas which have little to no water supply.

Discussions on dispensation of water and provision of sanitation facilities continue. 

Environmental health practitioners are collecting water samples at household level at point of use, as part of their environmental assessment. 

Food inspection, health education to food vendors in the affected settlements continue. 

The WASH team places importance on community involvement by engaging community leaders to encourage behavioral change towards good hygiene and sanitation practices.