Hepatitis E wipes out 17 lives – seasonal flu claims 2
The Hepatitis E outbreak that was first declared in Windhoek on 14 December 2017 to date has claimed 17 victims, according to the health ministry this week.
Since the out break sporadic cases have been reported throughout the country in the northern parts of the country in the Omusati region and more recently the Erongo region, said the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Bernard Haufiku during a media brief this week.
Haufiku said recorded suspected cases of the disease since the outbreak is pegged at 1867, while lab confirmed cases recorded are 147.
“The extensive spread of the outbreak to other parts of the country is attributed to cases of people traveling from the epi-centre (Havana and Goreangab), thereby spreading the infection to risk populations elsewhere,” he said.
Haufiku said that the main drivers that were identified for Windhoek Hepatitis E outbreak include, open defecation, poor sanitation and hygiene practices.
World Health Organization, country representative, Dr. Charles Sagoes-Moses at the brief said that the relevant authorities need to double their efforts in sensationalizing the public on sanitation, hygiene and water use to curb the out break.
“The WHO will support the health ministry to combat the outbreak and all strategies are in place to assist the ministry,” he added.
Haufiku said the National Health Emergency Management Committee has urged all regions to implement preparedness, prevention and control measures, as such reports of more cases are expected through out the country.
At the brief Haufiku also highlighted the current situation on the influenza A H1N1 and said that there are 16 laboratory cases and 2 deaths have been reported.
Haufiku stressed that the country is not having an out break of influenza and currently his ministry is in the proces of establishing an influenza sentinel surveillance to enable the country to determine its endemic levels, thresholds and detection of circulating and emerging strains.