Journal Article

Evidence of Person-to-Person Transmission of Hepatitis E Virus during a Large Outbreak in Northern Uganda

Eyasu H. Teshale, Scott P. Grytdal, Christopher Howard, Vaughn Barry, Saleem Kamili, Jan Drobeniuc, Vincent R. Hill, Samuel Okware, Dale J. Hu and Scott D. Holmberg

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 50, issue 7, pages 1006-1010
Published in print April 2010 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online April 2010 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1086/651077
Evidence of Person-to-Person Transmission of Hepatitis E Virus during a Large Outbreak in Northern Uganda

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Background

Outbreaks of infection with hepatitis E virus (HEV) are frequently attributed to contaminated drinking water, even if direct evidence for this is lacking.

Methods

We conducted several epidemiologic investigations during a large HEV infection outbreak in Uganda.

Results

Of 10,535 residents, 3218 had HEV infection; of these, 2531 lived in households with >1 case. HEV was not detected in drinking water or zoonotic sources. Twenty-five percent of cases occurred ⩾8 weeks after onset of hepatitis in an index case in the household. Households with ⩾2 cases were more likely to have a member(s) who attended a funeral, had close contact with a jaundiced person, or washed hands in a common basin with others (P <.05 for all).

Conclusions

A high attack rate in households, lack of a common source of infection, and poor hygienic practices in households with ⩾2 cases suggest person-to-person transmission of HEV during this outbreak.

Journal Article.  3138 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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