Hepatitis E kills 4 pregnant women in Borno IDP camp, 400 others infected
- Four pregnant women have died in internally displaced persons camps located at Ngala council area of Borno state
- The women were infected with Hepatitis E, a contagious viral disease which affects the liver
- Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said some shelters habour 45,000 people who have fled attacks by the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists
Four pregnant women have died in internally displaced persons camps located at Ngala council area of Borno state, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has said.
The women, Legit.ng gathered were infected with Hepatitis E, a contagious viral disease which affects the liver.
The MSF medical coordinator, Nicolerta Bellio, in a statement issued in Maiduguri, Borno state capital said the viral disease infiltrated the camp from Niger and was able to spread due to a combination of poor living conditions and flooding.
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Hepatitis E can be contacted through drinking water or foods that has been contaminated by faeces from an already infected person.
The virus can also be contacted from any form of contact with animal meat, poorly cooked especially pigs.
The symptoms of the disease include weight loss, nausea, jaundice and fatigue.
The MSF in its statement decrying the poor state of living among the displaced persons said some shelters habour 45,000 people who have fled attacks by the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists.
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Bellio said the international agency is surprised that the number of infected person is yet to escalate due to the poor living condition in the camps.
“The situation in Ngala is very worrying. The onset of the rainy season has caused repeated flooding in the camp and water gushes across pathways, latrine holes and into people’s shelters,” Bellio said.
“When it rains, the whole camp gets covered in mud and dirty water. This is a recipe for spreading bacteria and disease particularly as people don’t always use the latrines that have been installed in the camp, so wastewater washes out everywhere.
“There have been more than 400 cases of hepatitis E in the past two months and we have treated 170 patients at our hospital, so it’s no surprise that an outbreak of hepatitis E has been declared.”
Bellio also spoke of the dangers of the disease on pregnant women and sensitised the people on how to avoid the disease.
“Generally, people recover from hepatitis E if they receive treatment, but the disease can be very dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn babies,” Bellio said.
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He added that: “Hepatitis E leads to high rates of spontaneous abortions and stillbirths, as well as babies being born prematurely.
"It can also cause severe haemorrhages in mothers, both during childbirth and after giving birth.
“Something as simple as soap and clean water could have prevented these deaths. Our health promotion teams are working with the community to clean the camp of dirty water and waste.
“We have also distributed soap and chlorinated the water supply, although chlorine is less effective against hepatitis E than it is against cholera, for example.
“Other humanitarian organisations have also worked to improve the water supply. The rains will continue for several months, and we fear that this could mean more cases of hepatitis E or, even worse, an outbreak of cholera.
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“If this happens, Ngala’s remote location and the security situation in the area will make it very difficult for us to respond. In fact, it would be a disaster.
“MSF has been working in Ngala camp since October 2016 and currently runs a hospital providing inpatient and outpatient treatment, malnutrition treatment and maternity," he said.
Legit.ng earlier reported that some displaced persons in Borno camps were being served with decayed beans.
The report came after pictures of portions of the decayed beans were shared on the internet by a Chibok leader and spokesperson Allen Manesseh.
Manesseh while posting the pictures said his effort to engage authorities on the matter was futile.
You can watch this Legit.ng video of survivors of Boko Haram recounting their ordeal: