Hepatitis E in Namibia: A Historical Review
Namibia has had three outbreaks of Hepatitis E Virus (HEV), in 1983, 1995 and 2017. HEV is particularly dangerous to pregnant women. The objective of this study was to present a thorough review of the history of HEV in Namibia; the genotypes which have appeared since 1983, and the possible reasons for the nationwide spread of HEV that has occurred since 2017.
Materials and Methods:
As this is a review article, no primary research data will be presented. However, an exhaustive literature study has been undertaken and there will be in-depth discussion of the findings of primary researchers in Namibia and elsewhere.
The first two episodes were confined to the Rundu area. The 1983 outbreak may have been genotype 1; that of 1995 contained genotypes 1 and 2. The genotype of 2017 episode has not been clearly established. Increased road traffic may have spread HEV during 2017-2020. Lack of clean water and washing facilities, and lack of awareness of what causes HEV, are the main factors in spreading it.
There remain challenges to the containment of HEV. A recent government initiative to stop COVID-19 has helped slow its progress. Both infections are propagated by poor hygienic practice and lack of clean water
Keywords: Hepatitis E, Disease Control, Poor Hygiene, Namibia