By: Tjizouye Kazombungo
Just when Namibia was getting rid of Hepatitis E, now it has to deal with cases of deadly typhoid.
Health minister Kalumbi Shangula on Wednesday announced the detection of typhoid fever cases in Namibia.
Shangula said that on 27 January 2022 confirmed, a case of typhoid was reported in Windhoek District.
“Following the first case report, nine contacts, including three close contacts, were traced and tested for typhoid fever,” he said.
He added that among the three close contacts, two tested positive.
“Typhoid fever remains a serious public health problem throughout the world,” he said.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated incidences of 16 to 33 million typhoid fever cases globally every year.
“With 500 000 to 600 000 deaths and case fatality rate of between 1.5% and 3.8%,” he said.
Typhoid fever carries bacteria in the bloodstream and intestinal tract.
Shangula further stated that WHO says a disease outbreak is the occurrence of disease cases over average expectancy.
“So far, the reported cases do not meet the WHO definition of an outbreak.”
However, he adds that further investigations are ongoing.
“The three detected cases are stable and undergoing medical treatment,” said Shangula.
Touching on Hepatitis E, Shangula said Namibia had reached the end of the Hepatitis E outbreak.
Namibia had detected its first Hepatitis E case on 14 December 2017.
In early 2018, the virus spread throughout the country and affected all regions.
“It is my pleasure to inform the nation and declare that
the Hepatitis E outbreak in Namibia has ended,” said Shangula.
He stated that Hepatitis E epidemiological curve in Namibia
shows that the cases have consistently declined.
“For endemic conditions, an outbreak ends when the number of newly reported illnesses drops back to the number ordinarily expected,” he adds.
The virus is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis E virus, transmitted by the faecal-oral route, and infects the liver.
At the event, Shangula said that a report dated 04 February 2022 shows 8 092 Hepatitis E cases were reported.
“Of which 2 124 or 26.2% were laboratory confirmed, and 4 738 or 58.6% were epidemiologically linked to the confirmed cases.”
A total of 1 230 cases, or 15.2%, were classified as suspected cases. A total number of 2 435 specimens tested negative for Hepatitis E and were therefore discarded.
The report further states that 66 Hepatitis E deaths were recorded country-wide since the outbreak began until September 2020.
“Among the recorded deaths, 27 were maternal deaths, representing 41% of the total Hepatitis E deaths and 6.2% of all the reported maternal Hepatitis E cases. He explained that four Hepatitis E deaths were recorded in 2020, of which two were maternal deaths,” he explained.
He thus said no Hepatitis E deaths had been recorded since September 2020.
“Hepatitis E cases have significantly dropped in all regions since the last quarter of 2020”, said Shangula.
He further added that few cases were reported in Windhoek, Walvis Bay and Okahao Districts.
According to the health and social services report of 2019, the Khomas region has been the most affected region with 3 894, which makes 63 %.
It was followed by the Erongo region with 1393, standing in with 22%.
Another report shared by the health ministry dated May 2021 shows a cumulative number of 8 062 cases were reported since the outbreak began.