Flood: NCDC urges states to raise surveillance on Hepatitis E

Adeno-Associated virus (AAV) capsid (3D data 2qa0 from http://www.rcsb.org). The single stranded DNA genome inside the capsid is not visible here. The virus is a small, replication-defective, nonenveloped virus. AAV infects humans and some other primates.AAV is not currently known to cause any disease and this lack of pathogenicity has attracted considerable interest from gene therapy researchers together with a other features: AAV can infect non-dividing cells and can stably integrate into human chromosome 19 at a specific site which makes this virus more predictable and a better choice than retroviruses for gene therapy since retroviruses present the threat of random insertion and mutagenesis, which can be followed by cancer. However, removal of the "rep" and "cap" portions of the AAV genome helped create AAV vectors for gene therapy that lack integrative capacity. Selected genes for gene therapy can be inserted in to the AAV vector between the inverted terminal repeats (ITR). AAV DNA is lost through cell division, since the episomal DNA is not replicated along with the host cell DNA. Clinical trials: AAV vectors have been used for treatment of cystic fibrosis and hemophilia B, Parkinson's disease, muscular dystrophy, Arthritis and Alzheimer's disease. The capsid contains 60 proteins. View is along the 2-fold icosahedral symmetry axis. Individual, small spheres are atoms making up the proteins. Hydrogen atoms are not shown. (Photo Credit: Institute of Molecular Virology, WISC)

With the incessant cases of flood around the country due to the rainy season, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has called on state governments to increase surveillance alert and be more prepared for outbreaks of water-borne diseases such as Hepatitis E.

There is currently an outbreak of the disease in Borno State in North-east Nigeria where a total of 562 cases have been reported in 10 local government areas.

Hepatitis E outbreak usually occurs as a result of faecal contamination of drinking water supplies and tends to become more widespread during the rainy season.

The fear of contamination of drinking water is still high in the country because many Nigerians indulge in open defecation.

Against that backdrop, the NCDC in its epidemiological report for week 29 (July 24- 29) urged all states to commence early plans for a more coordinated response system to hepatitis E outbreak.

“Like other outbreaks, response activities to an outbreak of Hepatitis E should be led by the States Ministry of Health and it should be carried out in a community-oriented manner.

“States should create increased awareness on Hepatitis E infection in their communities and implement preventive measures in view of the heavy rainfalls recorded recently in the country,” it added.

The agency however pledged to continue to work with its partners to provide support in outbreak coordination in any affected state.

There was however no status update from the health agency on the outbreak in Borno state.

Hepatitis E is a liver disease caused by a virus known as hepatitis E virus, HEV, with an incubation period that ranges from two to eight weeks. It is one of the deadly viral hepatitis infection types, the others being A,B,C,D.

Its transmission mode is via faeco-oral route, especially through faecal contamination of food and water supplies.


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