AFRICA/CHAD - Hepatitis E outbreak: need to improve water and sanitation

Monday, 13 February 2017 healthcare  


N'djamena (Agenzia Fides) - A hepatitis E outbreak is escalating across Am Timan, in the Salamat region of South-Eastern Chad. This is what the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reported which had already identified the first case in September 2016. Since then it has treated 885 patients with symptoms of acute liver failure, with numbers increasing to an average of around 60 new cases a week.. Hepatitis E is primarily transmitted from one person to another through contaminated water and in areas where access to quality water is limited. More than 600 MSF staff have been working to test for new cases, treat patients and improve water supplies and sanitation in the city of Am Timan, including chlorination of the city’s water towers. In addition to the medical response in Am Timan hospital, MSF has rolled out a large scale bucket chlorination campaign at the 72 water points within Am Timan town. Additionally, MSF outreach staff are holding community education sessions to explain the importance of handwashing with soap and using chlorinated water at designated water points. A more consistent intervention is urgently needed, especially to improve water and sanitation. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 13/02/2017)