Hepatitis-E outbreak

Eileen van der Schyff

Five cases of Hepatitis-E were confirmed in Walvis Bay in the week before last week, classifying it by health standards as an outbreak. Although this is classified as an outbreak by health standards, spokesperson for the municipality of Walvis Bay Kevin Adams assures residents there is no reason for concern and that with the right hygienic management in households and in businesses the risk is minimal.

“In Swakopmund more than nine hundred cases have been recorded up to date, stretching over a very prolonged period. Namibia’s health authorities countrywide have been battling the occasional outbreak of Hepatitis-E with good successes. We have no reason for concern at the moment, but that does not mean we as local authority, the business community and the general public should not do their utmost to maintain high levels of hygiene”, explained Adams yesterday. Adding, the municipality of Walvis Bay will issue a public statement on the situation shortly.
Hepatitis-E is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis-E virus (HEV).

Hepatitis-E only develops between fifteen and sixty days (mean = forty days) after infection.
Symptoms are: fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice, dark urine, clay coloured stool and joint pains.
Meanwhile, it could be confirmed that the high number of learners of a local high school at Walvis Bay, who fell ill on Friday and over the weekend with extreme vomiting, diarrhoea and nausea is attributed to a bacterial infection (not Hepatitis-E).The infection has been encountered in patients countrywide.
The children returned from a Grade 11 camp and on Friday started to fell ill with symptoms of fever, tiredness, stomach cramps and aches, headaches, diarrhoea or constipation, coughing and a lack of appetite. It was first though they contracted food poisoning at the camp, but laboratory tests confirmed it to be a bacterial infection that has been detected countrywide in the past few weeks.Parents and business owners (especially those who have businesses visited daily by high numbers of members from the public) are urged to maintain high levels of hygiene. The municipality of Walvis Bay continues its efforts to educate residents in general hygiene practice.

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