An outbreak of highly infectious hepatitis E has killed 67 people in the northern districts of Uganda since late last year and infected more than 4,000 others, a government official said on Monday.
State Minister for Health Emmanuel Otala said the disease had hit the Kitgum, Pader and Gulu districts, where most residents still live in congested camps after a two-decade civil war.
"We have 4,127 people who are hospitalized with hepatitis E and we have registered 67 deaths since the disease hit the region late last year," said Otala.
"Over 80 per cent of the people who have died are pregnant women and children, because they had very low immunity," Otala added.
Like Hepatitis A, Hepatitis E is usually transmitted via contaminated food. Northern Uganda suffers from an acute shortage of clean water and pit latrines.
According to Otala the government was encouraging improved sanitation since there was no treatment for the disease.
"We have sunk over 150 stances of pit-latrines in the district. We are also encouraging the residents to keep water in jerry cans," Otala said.
"We are encouraging people to keep the environment clean and drink clean water," he added.