South Sudan refugees continue to face hepatitis E outbreak

An outbreak of hepatitis E that began in July has infected more than 6,000 people living in refugee camps in South Sudan.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said that 111 people have died since the start of the outbreak. Almost 70 percent of the cases were found in the Yusuf Batil Camp, located in Upper Nile state. There are approximately 40,000 total refugees currently living in the region, according to TheGlobalDispatch.com.

The Jamam, Gendrassa and Doro camps have also been hit hard by the outbreak. Those living in the camps are mostly from Blue Nile State, an isolated and rural area where unsanitary conditions often prevail.

The UNHCR said that emergency measures are being implemented to stop the disease from spreading. Currently, 70 percent of the 701 latrines under construction at Yusuf Batil are finished. UNHCR also plans to distribute approximately 168,000 bars of soap and double the refugees' monthly allotment of the staple. TheGlobalDispatch.com reports

There is currently no known treatment against hepatitis E virus. It is generally contracted through the consumption of contaminated food and water, but it can also be contracted from animals and blood transfusions. Like hepatitis A, the fatality rate is usually low, except among pregnant women.