//Kharas prepares for Hepatitis E

27 Mar 2019 12:50pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 27 MAR (NAMPA) – The Ministry of Health and Social Service (MoHSS) on Tuesday established a Hepatitis E task force committee here to respond to threats of future virus breakouts.
The committee consists of 40 people from different government ministries and stakeholders from various institutions in Keetmanshoop.
Briefing the committee members on their responsibilities, Senior Medical Officer at the Keetmanshoop State Hospital, Refanus Kooper said it is important for the stakeholders to prepare themselves thoroughly to take action in case of a Hepatitis E outbreak in the region.
“It is very important that we prepare ourselves so that we prevent this virus. We have to educate our people on how to prevent the virus,” he said.
Kooper said there has so far not been any outbreak of Hepatitis E in //Kharas region. He quickly explained that the four cases that had been reported in Luderitz and Keetmanshoop involved people who were infected while visiting other regions.
“All these cases were of people who visited other regions which had the outbreak, like Khomas and Erongo region. Our region is lucky because the weather here is either too hot or too cold and the virus cannot survive in such conditions. It takes the virus 16 hours to survive in an environment, but here it will not even reach eight hours,” he said.
On 14 December 2017, MoHSS declared an outbreak of Hepatitis E in Windhoek in the Khomas region.
Information provided by the MoHSS at the meeting on Tuesday showed that 4,227 Hepatitis E cases were reported by 06 January 2019, of which 68 per cent were reported in Khomas region while 22 per cent were reported in Erongo region and 10 per cent in other regions.
Hepatitis E virus is an infection that causes liver disease. The virus is transmitted via faecal-oral route, mainly due to faecal contamination of drinking water.