20 Dec 2017 14:00pm
WINDHOEK, 20 DEC (NAMPA) The Ministry of Health and Social Services has recorded nine positive cases of the Hepatitis E virus (HEV), with one of the identified patients dying from the virus.
Minister Bernard Haufiku and newly appointed acting Permanent Secretary Petronella Masabane announced this during a media conference held in the capital on Wednesday.
According to Masabane, the virus outbreak was declared on 14 December by the Khomas Region, however the first case was diagnosed on 19 October 2017.
Since October, Katutura Intermediate Hospital has recorded a number of patients with signs and symptoms of acute Hepatitis, but who tested negative for Hepatitis A, B and C, which is commonly diagnosed at the local laboratory, she stated.
The acting PS said this prompted the doctors and laboratories to investigate the specimens further, leading to the diagnosis and confirmation of HEV.
To date, 26 patients showing related symptoms were tested for the virus, whereby nine tested positive and four tested negative, with eight results still pending.
The ministry has also established that all 26 patients are from the Windhoek districts informal settlements, areas prone to poor sanitation and faecal contaminated water, which is the main mode of transmission for Hepatitis E.
People with lack of sanitation and with limited access to safe drinking water, pregnant women and immuno-compromised individuals are at high risk, Masabane said.
The ministry urged anyone with the signs and symptoms of the virus to immediately report to the nearest health facility.
Symptoms include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and jaundice.
The ministry also urged personal hygiene and cleanliness in surroundings, in addition to boiling and purifying drinking water, among others, as measures of prevention.
The last HEV outbreak was reported in 1983 in Rundu.