A severe outbreak of Hepatitis A has reportedly struck a region of eastern Uzbekistan, sickening hundreds, according to Uznews.net. The news agency called the situation an “epidemic.”
According to news reports, at least one hospital in the Fergana Valley is overflowing with more than 100 patients, all with Hepatitis A infections. One source said that every household in the region has two or more people sick with the virus.
The head of the country’s sanitary and epidemic board at the Ministry of Health told reporters he did not see a reason for concern, as a Hepatitis A outbreak happens every year. But because Hepatitis A outbreaks rely on food as a point source, seasonal outbreaks would only conceivably occur from a seasonal food – or a seasonally contaminated food.
Speaking on anonymity, a doctor in the country said the health officials were “covering up” the situation, and that it was against regulations to cite the actual number of victims falling ill.
While newborns in Uzbekistan are vaccinated for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A vaccines are rare and difficult to afford in the impacted region.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A infection include fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, jaundice and dark urine. The illness can persist for months if untreated and often comes from eating food or drinking water contaminated from contact with infected fecal material.© Food Safety News