Emergencies preparedness, response

Hepatitis E in Chad

19 August 2004

Between June 26 and August 13 a total of 672 cases and 21 deaths of acute jaundice syndrome (AJS) were reported in Goz Amer, a camp of Sudanese refugees, by a WHO/Ministry of Health (MOH) joint mission. Antibodies for hepatitis E virus (HEV) were confirmed in 7 samples by the laboratory of Val de Grace, Paris.

A HEV outbreak of similar characteristics has been confirmed among internally displaced people (IDP) in the Greater Darfur region, Sudan (see previous report). Both outbreaks are related to an insufficient supply of clean water and poor sanitary conditions in refugee and IDP camps on both sides of the Chad-Sudan border.

WHO, UNHCR and nongovernmental organizations present in the area are currently supporting the MOH in the implementation of control measures including water chlorination, safe disposal of excreta and community health education, as well as in strengthening disease surveillance. WHO is planning to send a multidisciplinary team to the affected areas to reinforce outbreak control activities and to conduct additional epidemiological investigations.