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.