Hepatitis A Outbreaks Considers As High Risk In Flood Affected Areas
A medical officer at health camp, reports an increase in number of patients with infectious diseases in the camps, confirming that contaminated water is one of the main causes.
According to the Federal Health Minister, “large communities are living in flood relief camps in Sindh and Balochistan, which are highly vulnerable to disease transmission.” He also noted that hepatitis A outbreaks were “high risk.”
Millions of people in Pakistan remain homeless as a result of last year’s floods, making them unusually vulnerable to infectious diseases. The threat of hepatitis A outbreaks, which are typically not urgent, is growing more serious in camps.
Rukhshanda Bibi of Sukkur district, which is situated on the Indus River in south-eastern Sindh, lost her mud house and cattle when last year’s devastating floods wreaked havoc on the area. She was not alone; throughout the worst of the monsoon, hundreds of other homes nearby were also destroyed.
Infectious disease outbreaks continue to ripple through the flood-hit areas. The estimated eight million Pakistanis still living close to flood zones are at risk. Special health camps have been established to vaccinate people against illnesses such as diarrhoea, cholera, polio, and hepatitis.
“People are now seeking mercy and do not want any deaths and suffering of adults and children due to disease outbreaks,” says Bibi . She says that her children were vaccinated for polio earlier and now she has approached a health facility to get the hepatitis A vaccine.
Dr. Sana Malik, a medical officer at the health camp, reports an increase in the number of patients with infectious diseases in the camps, confirming that contaminated water is one of the main causes.
“The lack of basic health care and other necessities makes the lives of displaced people abnormal. Although we advise people to drink clean water and practise good hygiene, doing so is difficult for them due to issues with accessibility and availability,” she claims.
She continues by saying that the hepatitis A vaccination, which is currently required for flood-affected people in order to control the spread of the disease and safeguard their health, is no longer optional under Pakistan’s regular schedule of routine vaccinations.
According to her, “the floods have produced an abnormal situation where both adults and children must receive the hepatitis A vaccine for protection, which reflects the massive scale of the devastation.”
Poor sanitation and a lack of access to safe water are known to significantly increase the risk of hepatitis A, an inflammation of the liver brought on by the hepatitis A virus that is most frequently spread by the faecal-oral route. Hepatitis A outbreaks have also been known to be large and explosive.
Hepatitis A, unlike hepatitis B and C, does not result in chronic liver disease, but it can, in some patients, result in potentially fatal acute liver failure.
The Pakistani government is attempting to avoid that. Sajid Hussain Shah, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Health Services, reports that 100,000 doses of the hepatitis A vaccine have been given to the health authorities of the particularly hard-hit Sindh and Balochistan provinces.
The Federal Health Minister emphasises that the flood crisis in Pakistan is still ongoing. Millions of people were forced to flee their homes as a result of the last monsoon’s torrential downpours, which have been dubbed Pakistan’s worst floods in history. The government’s top priority is still helping those affected by the floods, according to the minister.