Hepatitis death toll hits 30 in Napak

Sunday March 16 2014

By Steven Ariong


The death toll of Hepatitis E epidemic in Napak District has hit 30.
Sunday Monitor has learnt that 1,000 remain infected with the deadly viral infection since the breakout in the district mid last year.
Dr James Lemukol, the district health director, said majority of the dead were pregnant mothers.

He said the transmission of the disease in the community is still high yet some development partners who had been supporting the district to fight the epidemic through community mobilisation on hygiene have slowed down their efforts due to lack of money.

He said the increasing number of infected people proves there’s no improvement.
The most affected areas are Lorengechora and Iriiri, the highly populated sub-counties in Napak.
“The disease situation has gone up and I am worried it might double since some of the instrumental developmental partners are running short of funds,” Dr Lemukol said.

“The low coverage of pit-latrines in the district which stands at 22 per cent and few clean water sources, are the major challenges hindering the fight against hepatitis E in Napak,” he added.
A source at the Ministry of Health told this newspaper that the minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, has called a meeting in Kampala on Tuesday next week to discuss ways to tame the epidemic.

The ministry spokesperson, Ms Rukia Nakamatte, confirmed the Tuesday meeting.


About the virus
Hepatitis E is caused by a virus called hepatitis E virus (HEV). HEV is transmitted through feacal-oral contact. It is one of the five known hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D, and E. Infection with this virus was first documented in 1955 during an outbreak in New Delhi, India. A preventative vaccine (HEV 239) is approved for use in China. Hepatitis E occasionally develops into an acute, severe liver disease, and is fatal in about 2 per cent of all cases.