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Hepatitis E in the Sudan

By on February 16, 2013

The United Nations says an outbreak of hepatitis E has killed 111 refugees in camps in South Sudan since July, and has become endemic in thesudan_hepe region according to the Associated Press.

U.N. refugee agency spokesman Adrian Edwards says the influx of people to the camps from neighboring Sudan is believed to be one of the factors in the rapid spread of the contagious, life-threatening inflammatory viral disease of the liver.

According to Edwards, the camps have been hit by 6,017 cases of hepatitis E, which is spread through contaminated food and water. He says the largest number of cases and suspected cases is in the Yusuf Batil camp in Upper Nile state, which houses 37,229 refugees fleeing fighting between rebels and the Sudanese government.

Hepatitis E is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis E virus (HEV) that usually results in a self-limited disease. HEV infection is primarily  transmitted by the fecal-oral route, mostly through consumption of contaminated water. Hepatitis E is common in many parts of the world. There is currently no approved vaccine for hepatitis E.

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