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Namibia battling two pandemics

Namibia battling two pandemics

Zorena Jantze

THE number of Hepatitis E cases in the latest situation report indicates that the rate of infection with the disease is falling.


Namibia registered a total of 44 cases of Hepatitis E during July 2020 which is significantly less than the 79 cases reported in April.


The death toll of the illness also remained stagnant with a total of 65 deaths reported since the outbreak began whilst the country’s COVID-19 related mortality rate is rising faster with a total of 65 in a matter of weeks.


From January to date only four HEV deaths were recorded of which one is a maternal death that occurred in February 2020. The last death was recorded on 3 March.


Namibia two pandemics Hepatitis E cases report indicates infection disease
BIOLOGICAL THREAT: Most of the cases of Hepatitis E pandemic are from the capital’s slum areas with low hygiene. – Photo: Zorena Jantze


Cumulatively, a total of 7 853 HEV cases were registered, whilst a total of 6 906 COVID-19 positive cases were registered with fears mounting for higher numbers of infection as Namibia has become the epicentre of the virus in Africa.


According to the July 2020 Hepatitis E report, of the total of 44 cases reported during the current reporting period (29 June- 12 July 2020), Khomas region reported the highest number 35 (80%), followed by Erongo and Omaheke, 3 (7%) cases each. while Oshana, Otjozondjupa, and Kunene each reported 1 (2%) case respectively.


In the eight weeks from 18 May 2020 to 12 July 2020, a total of 168 HEV cases were reported nationwide, with Khomas reporting 109 (64%) followed by Erongo and Otjozondjupa Region reporting 14 (8%) cases each, Omaheke and Kunene 7 (4%) cases each, Ohangwena 6 (3%), Hardap 5 (3%), Omusati 4 (2%), and Oshana 2 (1%).


The health ministry states that generally, Hepatitis E cases had been gradually decreasing.


Since the outbreak began, cases have been reported mainly from informal settlements such as Havana and Goreangab in Windhoek, DRC in Swakopmund, and similar settings in other regions where access to potable water, sanitation, and hygiene is limited.


A cumulative of 2024 specimens tested negative for Hepatitis E and were therefore discarded.


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