According to the UN, an ongoing outbreak of hepatitis E in the Diffa region (southeast) has spread to the Zinder and Tahoua regions, and as of July 22 had resulted in a total of 1446 recorded cases, including 38 deaths. Nigerien authorities, along with NGOs and the World Health Organization (WHO), have launched an awareness campaign and made free care available for affected people.
The virus is primarily transmitted via contaminated water. Although the infection generally goes away on its own within two to six weeks, it can worsen and develop into fulminant hepatitis (especially among pregnant women), which can be fatal. Symptoms of the disease include fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, itching, rash, or joint pain. In some cases, jaundice or hypertrophy of the liver may occur. No specific treatment is available.
Individuals in the affected region are advised to follow personal hygiene practices, such as regular hand-washing with purified water, and maintain adequate supplies of safe drinking water. Avoid drinking water and/or ice of unknown purity (tap water).