Hepatitis B outbreak continues in Uganda

Public health officials in Uganda's West Nile region have expressed concern about persistent outbreak of Hepatitis B that has caused the deaths of at least 29 people.

The officials said the illness is concentrated in the northwestern districts of Moyo and Adjumani and the number of cases appears to be on the rise. Most of the health facilities in the region lack the required vaccines and equipment needed to combat the illness, according to

Local residents have complained that a complete dose of the Hepatitis B vaccine remains too expensive at area private clinics.

Surveillance teams said the number of fatalities might be higher than 29 because many residents are forgoing treatment at public health facilities in favor of private ones that are not fully reporting the extent of infections.

Dr. Dr Dominic Drametu, the medical superintendent of Adjumani, said the district hospital has treated approximately 90 cases of the illness in the last three years.

"On average at least the hospital handles at least two cases of Hepatitis B every month but our challenge is the facility lacks the required drugs," Drametu said, reports.

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that predominantly affects the liver. It can vary in severity, lasting a few weeks or resulting in life-long health problems, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.