Fighting Hepatitis E in Chad
Since September 2016, hundreds of staff from MSF have been responding to an emergency in the Salamat region, providing care for patients with hepatitis E in the main Hospital in Am Timan.
In the past five months, MSF has seen 821 patients with Acute Jaundice Symptoms (AJS). AJS, which commonly causes the yellowing of the skin and eyes, can indicate a person has hepatitis E. 68 of these people have confirmed cases of Hepatitis E (HEV RDT+) while 61 have been hospitalized and 11 have died, including four pregnant women. Hepatitis E is a disease caused by an acute virus, which can lead to liver failure and death. It is mainly spread through poor sanitation at water sources.
MSF’s response to the outbreak includes medical assistance, hygiene promotion and water and sanitation activities. MSF teams in Am Timan are making sure that there is enough clean water supply for the community. Water chlorination is a major part of the emergency response to prevent outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as Hepatitis.
As a medical organization it is not usually MSF’s job to intervene on a large scale in water chlorination activities, but as the virus is transmitted from one person to another, mainly through contaminated water, water and sanitation has been a primary part of the emergency response to the outbreak.
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