By Dr. Shayela Nelson Makemba
IN view of the recent Hepatitis E outbreak in the informal settlements around city of Windhoek, it is of paramount importance that we acquaint ourselves with information regarding Hepatitis E.
By definition, Hepatitis E is a virus that tends to infect the liver causing inflammation and leading to yellow discoloration of the eyes (Schera). In our setting, we have experienced an outbreak and cases have been emanating especially from Havana, an informal settlement on the outskirts of Windhoek.
Often times, this commonly happens because such areas do not have proper sanitation and masses living under such conditions are exposed to contaminated water which by far is the source of infection.
When these individuals travel to the city or engage in streets with vendors, selling goods like food, fruits and vegetables, they can easily transmit the infection to others.
It is for this reason that anyone who suspects to have been infected or in contact with someone who is said to have had the infection, visit their nearest health facility.
The mothers who are pregnant and the immune-compromised individuals are often at increased risk of severe outcome sand are therefore encouraged to take extra precaution.
If you happen to be residing in the informal settlements, it is advisable to always use proper toilet facilities and to ensure good hand hygiene.
To the population in general, it is probably advisable not to shake hands with strangers and wash your fruits and vegetables properly as well as making sure you cook your food thoroughly.
The most affected people in the said areas can approach the Ministry of Health and Social Services for further assistance in helping them with measures that can mitigate the problem for example access to methods that will help them clean their water.
The public should not panic as the City of Windhoek and the Health Ministry have committed significant financial resources to help contain the outbreak.
Dr. Makemba is a general practitioner with a practice at Nesha Medical Practice, Rhino Park Medical Centre.
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