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Hepatitis E death toll rises to 123 in north Uganda
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15:33, September 04, 2008

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The death toll from the Hepatitis E epidemic in northern Uganda has risen from 114 to 123 in the last fortnight while the number of infected people rose from 7,331to 7,757 in the same period, local media said on Thursday.

Daily Monitor quoted director for clinical services in the Health Ministry, Kenya Mugisha, as saying that the appalling hygiene in the affected districts, where many people were displaced by a two-decade conflict, had fuelled the spread of the disease.

Mugisha said hygiene-related diseases are still a challenge to the country. If all people in Uganda were ensuring a proper disposal of human waste, they would not be suffering from diseases like Hepatitis E, cholera and dysentery.

Hepatitis E is an acute viral disease that can cause liver failure. The virus is transmitted to humans through consumption of drinks or food contaminated with faucal matter.

The disease initially struck Kitgum district, northern Uganda, in October last year, but has since spread to districts of Gulu, Pader and Yumbe.

The government launched an emergency response plan last month to contain the epidemic in the affected districts with a focus on sensitizing local people of proper hygiene and improving sanitation in camps for the displaced.

Source: Xinhua

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