The Preventive Medicine Department at Lebanon’s Ministry of Public Health on Thursday issued a statement on the Hepatitis “A” outbreak in some Lebanese regions, clarifying that after studying the epidemiological situation of the areas that recorded a noticeable increase in the number of Hepatitis “A” cases, it has been discovered that the outbreak is most likely caused by the deterioration of infrastructure in said regions, which eventually led to a mixture between drinking water and sewage water.
“The Ministry of Health, in cooperation with the local authorities, is monitoring the rehabilitation of infrastructure and regular sterilization of water sources. The ministry, in cooperation with international organizations, is also conducting awareness seminars for people on how to prevent the disease from spreading and the means to sterilize water using chlorine,” the statement read.
It also explained that the Hepatitis “A” vaccine was not included in the national mandatory vaccination calendar, but was rather an optional vaccine.
“The Ministry of Health is currently seeking to provide this vaccine in cooperation with international organizations for use to curb similar outbreaks,” the statement added.
The ministry affirmed that it was closely following up, on a daily basis, the epidemiological situation of the disease, and that during the last 24 hours, the outbreak recorded a decrease in the number of cases.
About Hepatitis “A” and the way it’s transmitted according the the World Health Organization:
Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver that can cause mild to severe illness.
The hepatitis A virus (HAV) is transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and water or through direct contact with an infectious person.
Almost everyone recovers fully from hepatitis A with a lifelong immunity. However, a very small proportion of people infected with hepatitis A could die from fulminant hepatitis.
The risk of hepatitis A infection is associated with a lack of safe water and poor sanitation and hygiene (such as contaminated and dirty hands).
The hepatitis A virus is transmitted primarily by the faecal-oral route; that is when an uninfected person ingests food or water that has been contaminated with the faeces of an infected person. In families, this may happen though dirty hands when an infected person prepares food for family members. Waterborne outbreaks, though infrequent, are usually associated with sewage-contaminated or inadequately treated water.
The virus can also be transmitted through close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.
Source: National News Agency – Lebanon