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Hepatitis A Spreads in Northern Lebanon

Hepatitis A Spreads in Northern Lebanon

Tuesday, 14 June, 2022 - 06:00
A photo taken months ago shows a patient suffering from Hepatitis A as she receives treatment. (Al-Markazia)

Northern Lebanon is grappling with an outbreak of Hepatitis A, or jaundice, that has infected 174 people, according to official figures.

The Health Ministry is probing the cause of the outbreak.

The infections were first reported in the northern city of Tripoli, said local media, blaming the outbreak on polluted drinking water, which has not been confirmed by concerned authorities.

The Health Ministry announced on Monday that it has been following up on the outbreak since it first emerged and that it was still probing its causes.

It revealed that it will issue a daily bulletin on the outbreak, similar to how it tackled the coronavirus pandemic.

Head of the Doctors Syndicate Youssef Bakhash warned of the rapid spread of Hepatitis A, saying it is highly contagious.

He blamed the outbreak of a shortage of drinking water and poor hygiene and sewage systems.

He praised the Health Ministry for cooperating with the concerned authorities and probing the outbreak and the source of pollution.

The probe found that the public water network was not polluted, he revealed, adding that 118 infections were confirmed in less than a week.

Bakhash urged people to follow proper hygiene practices, such as washing hands after using the toilet and before preparing or eating food and using trusted sources of water for drinking or washing fruits and vegetables.

He urged the need to provide the necessary vaccine against the disease and to carry out an inoculation campaign targeting vulnerable segments of society to curb its spread. The campaign should first target the elderly and those suffering from chronic health problems.

The early detection of the disease should be a priority because it will help isolate patients and prevent the spread of the infection.

President of the Order of Pharmacists, Joe Salloum said that subsidized vaccines are unavailable in Lebanon, calling the need to declare a health emergency not just in Tripoli, but the entire country.

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