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Acute hepatitis E – Burkina Faso

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Between eight September and 24 November, 2020, the North-Central area of Burkina Faso reported a cumulative complete of 442 circumstances of febrile jaundice. The overwhelming majority of circumstances (87.5%) had been reported from Barsalogho well being district with 387 circumstances and 16 deaths, representing a case-fatality fee of Four.1% (see Determine 1 and a couple of). A complete of 15 out of 16 deaths had been reported in pregnant or postpartum girls.

A complete of 10 circumstances had been confirmed by polymerase chain response (PCR). At the moment 38 sufferers are being adopted up on the Barsalogho medical heart; 10 of that are in hospital. Case descriptions based on particular person traits present that 67% of circumstances had been lower than 30 years outdated (imply age is 25 ± 12 years); 54% of febrile jaundice circumstances had been feminine; and practically 5% of circumstances had been lower than 5 years outdated.

As early as 11 September, WHO suggested the Ministry of Well being that the trigger might be hepatitis E given the next contexts:

  • Fourteen (14) samples had been collected and despatched to the Nationwide Reference Laboratory for Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (LNR-VHF); one pattern got here again optimistic for yellow fever optimistic by IgM (collected in the course of the survey) (first batch). The pattern was then despatched to Dakar for extra yellow fever and differential testing.
  • 9 (9) samples (out of the 14 collected in the course of the survey) had been despatched to Lapeyronie Hospital, Montpellier, France for hepatitis E testing: eight of the 9 samples had been IgM optimistic for hepatitis E (outcomes shared on September 25). Genotyping of eight samples for viral hepatitis E confirmed that the virus was genotype 2; subsequently, no zoonotic an infection was detected.
  • A second batch of 43 samples had been despatched for testing to the NRL-FHV (Muraz Heart, Bobo Dioulasso) leading to 2 IgM optimistic circumstances for yellow fever by IgM and one undetermined.
  • The 2 possible and one indeterminate pattern from the second batch together with the one possible pattern from the primary batch (complete 4 samples) had been despatched on September 30, 2020 to the Pasteur Institute of Dakar (IP Dakar) for extra yellow fever and differential exams. Two of the 4 samples examined optimistic for hepatitis E by PCR; none examined optimistic for yellow fever by PCR (outcomes shared on October 20). These similar 4 samples had been then examined and got here again optimistic for yellow fever by serum neutralization, however with low-titers (outcomes shared on October 26) and are subsequently not interpreted as acute yellow fever an infection on this context.
  • Thus far, a complete of 349 samples (out of 387 suspect circumstances) have been collected; of which 163 have been analyzed on the FHV NRL for yellow fever.

There are a lot of internally displaced individuals (IDPs) within the area, most of them with host households and a few dwelling in camps . As well as, the North-Central area is affected by the closure of well being amenities because of insecurity ensuing from common assaults by Unidentified Armed Males (HANI). Within the Well being District of Barsalogho, three out of 4 communes are closely affected by these assaults leading to displacement of the inhabitants. A complete of 40% of the nation’s IDPs are registered within the North-Central area, however solely 6 out of 15 well being amenities are in operation. Burkina Faso is affected by the COVID-19 epidemic and as of 23 November, 2020, 2 757 circumstances and 68 deaths have been reported. The context of the COVID-19 pandemic additional complicates the response.

Determine 1: Every day evolution of febrile jaundice circumstances in Barsalogho Well being District from September eight – November 24, 2020 (n = 387)

Determine 2: North-central area with febrile jaundice, November 24, 2020

Public well being response

The next response actions have been carried out or are underway at nation stage:


  • Growth of a hepatitis E response plan on the regional stage.
  • Growth of a yellow fever response plan is underway.
  • A primary session was held by the Regional Epidemic Administration Committee on the outbreak of febrile jaundice on 26 October, chaired by the Governor of the North-Central Area.
  • Common session assembly at regional and district stage
  • Weekly Session assembly on the central stage with the participation of technical and monetary companions.
  • Activation of the Emergency Well being Response Operations Centre (CORUS) with the appointment of a nationwide incident supervisor.


  • Strengthening surveillance of jaundice circumstances in North-Central Area districts
  • Drawing up of the descriptive case checklist (line checklist)
  • Ongoing briefing of well being staff, community-based well being staff and conventional healers on epidemiological surveillance, particularly febrile jaundice.
  • Growth of a microprogram for sensitization of the inhabitants.
  • Assist cargo of samples to IP Dakar

Case administration

  • Hospitalization and case administration on the Medical Heart with surgical unit in Barsalogho and on the Regional Hospital Heart in Kaya.
  • Growth on the central stage and sharing to the district stage of a hepatitis E administration protocol based mostly on WHO tips.


  • Growth of a WASH response plan
  • Verification of water factors: sampling and evaluation (13/56 water factors) with the help of OXFAM. Water didn’t adjust to ingesting requirements and bio-controlled parameters (E.coli, faecal streptococci, thermotolerant coliforms).
  • Remedy of a nicely in Sector three of Barsalogho
  • Disinfection of 56 major water factors
  • Distribution of hygiene kits
  • Coaching of neighborhood relays on hygiene
  • Decommissioning of 120 latrines

WHO danger evaluation

Though hepatitis A, B, and C are widespread in Burkina Faso, that is the first-time hepatitis E has been reported within the nation. The nationwide HIV/hepatitis reference laboratory on the Muraz Heart in Bobo Dioulasso has an environment friendly technical platform able to diagnosing hepatitis E however lacks reagents and fast diagnostic kits. Efforts to enhance case administration and strengthen surveillance are ongoing. Moreover, nearly all of hepatitis E circumstances have been reported inside Barsalogho well being district, which homes many internally displaced individuals (IDPs) experiencing troublesome dwelling situations. Apart from overcrowding, the primary contributing elements resulting in this outbreak might be restricted entry to scrub water and poor sanitation and hygiene within the affected areas.

The extent of danger on the nationwide stage is taken into account reasonable: on condition that it is a hepatitis E epidemic, occurring in a geographical space the place the inhabitants has little entry to important water, and sanitation and hygiene companies, requiring the implementation of efficient and fast prevention measures. Since January 2019, the North-Central area has been recurrently topic to assaults by unidentified armed males (HANI), leading to a dysfunction within the provision of care and the large displacement of populations. The unfold of this epidemic to different neighbouring well being districts is feasible if extra help measures are usually not put in place. The restricted capability of native actors to successfully help the response actions additionally represent a danger of spreading this epidemic to different sub-prefectures or neighbouring well being districts.

The chance on the regional and world stage stays low.

WHO recommendation

Hepatitis E is a liver illness brought on by the hepatitis E virus (HEV). Hepatitis E is discovered worldwide and is widespread in nations with restricted entry to important water, sanitation, hygiene, and well being companies, or in areas of humanitarian emergencies.

The hepatitis E virus is transmitted by the fecal-oral route, primarily by means of contaminated water. The chance elements for hepatitis E are associated to poor sanitation situations, permitting the viruses excreted within the feces of contaminated topics to succeed in water supposed for human consumption. Usually, the an infection heals spontaneously in 2-6 weeks with a lethality of zero.5-Four%. Fulminant hepatitis is extra widespread when hepatitis E happens throughout being pregnant. Pregnant girls, particularly of their second and third trimester, are at elevated danger of acute liver failure, fetal loss, and mortality. The case-fatality fee might be as excessive as 20-25% in girls within the final trimester of being pregnant.

Prevention is the best method towards this illness. On the inhabitants stage, a very powerful interventions to scale back the transmission of HEV and the variety of hepatitis E circumstances are: provision of protected ingesting water, high quality requirements for public water provides, and the availability of ample sanitation. On the particular person stage, infectious dangers might be decreased by sustaining hygienic practices reminiscent of washing palms with clear water and cleaning soap – particularly earlier than dealing with meals, avoiding consumption of water and/or ice of unknown purity, and following WHO hygiene practices for meals security.

To forestall the unfold of acute hepatitis E, WHO recommends enhancing entry to protected ingesting water and ample sanitation. The standard of ingesting water must be recurrently monitored in neighbourhoods affected by this epidemic. Protection of latrines and ingesting water sources must be elevated to stop open defecation and to make sure hand hygiene. Well being promotion and prevention actions, in addition to guaranteeing early, acceptable, and equitable well being care companies to fight hepatitis E epidemics, will help enhance public well being outcomes, particularly in resource-limited settings. For the reason that incubation interval for hepatitis E ranges from 2-10 weeks, circumstances might proceed to happen as much as the tenth week (most incubation interval) even after measures to make sure protected water, sanitation and hygiene promotion have been adopted.

The intervention should proceed to focus on susceptible populations by establishing or strengthening antenatal prognosis for pregnant girls with signs, enhancing the inhabitants’s hygiene situations, strengthening nationwide capacities for prognosis and scientific case administration, and cross-border collaboration with neighbouring nations.

Thus far, a hepatitis E vaccine has been developed for commercialization and licensed in China and Pakistan. Whereas WHO doesn’t advocate the introduction of the vaccine as a part of nationwide routine inhabitants immunization packages, WHO recommends that nationwide authorities might determine to make use of the vaccine in outbreak settings, together with in populations at excessive danger, reminiscent of pregnant girls. Vaccine use ought to subsequently be thought of to mitigate or forestall an outbreak of hepatitis E, in addition to to scale back the consequences of an outbreak in high-risk people, reminiscent of pregnant girls.

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