Nepal, hepatitis E epidemic: 9 dead and over 6 thousand infected
by Christopher Sharma
At the moment the infection has spread to the city of Biratnagar, where it is estimated that at least one member in every family has contracted the virus. Contaminated water distributed by the government as drinking water believed to be origin of outbreak.
Kathmandu ( AsiaNews) – There is an outbreak of hepatitis E in Nepal, with at least nine confirmed deaths so far, 80 people in critical condition and more than 6 thousand cases of infection in the city of Biratnagar in the east of the country. The sudden epidemic broke out about two weeks ago, after the government distributed contaminated water. The Ministry of Health has tried to reassure the population , but doctors accuse the authorities of not doing enough.
Meanwhile, people have started to besiege health centers, clinics and hospitals to check whether they have contracted the virus. Over the past 15 days between 400 and 500 people have asked to be screened, but the government has not provided any financial support to the facilities to conduct the exams.
According Mahananda Mishra, president of the Nepal Medical Association Koshi Zonal, at least one member per family in the area of Biratnahar has contracted the virus and this is why the situation could get worse “if the Ministry of Health does not send special teams with medicines and doctors “.
Local sources claim that the epidemic was caused by the water distributed by the Nepal Water Supply Corporation, without prior testing. Experts say it is “embarrassing” that the government should distribute water that kills people .
Hepatitis E virus is an infection of the liver caused by HEV. Transmission occurs through the fecal -oral route and infection is transmitted in poor hygienic conditions, mainly through contaminated water. Nepal is ranked second in the world for its access to water resources. Despite this, efforts to bring clean water to the cities are slow, where often the drainage system pipes often converge with those of drinking water.