Unknown illness identified as hepatitis E in Tanzania

An outbreak in Tanzania's Kigoma Region of an unknown illness with high fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, generalized body weakness, abdominal pain, and headache has finally been identified as caused by hepatitis E virus. There have been as many as 690 cases in the outbreak. Initially the illness was treated as malaria due to the similarity of symptoms.

Hepatitis E virus generally causes an infection with no or mild symptoms. It usually resolves in 4-6 weeks with no special treatment. Since this virus is transmitted mostly through contaminated drinking water, travellers can reduce the risk of exposure by following strict water and food safety precautions.

Visit our Health Library for more information on exposure to and the prevention of Hepatitis E.

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