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South Sudan: MSF launches mass vaccination campaign amid deadly hepatitis E outbreak

“Hepatitis E is a waterborne disease that can be fatal,” says Mamman Mustapha, MSF head of mission in South Sudan. 

“Around 20 million people become infected every year, and of these, three million people experience symptoms that require treatment. However, not everyone is able to access treatment in good time – especially in countries with limited numbers of health facilities like South Sudan,” says Mustapha. 

“In such locations, even if people do eventually manage to get to a hospital, it is often too late. There is no cure for hepatitis E and sadly, 70,000 people die from the disease each year. This is why the vaccine is so important – it can save lives,” he says. 

The vaccine was developed in 2012 and has been approved for use in emergency settings by the World Health Organization since 2015. However, despite this, it has only ever been used once before. This was in 2022, when MSF carried out a world-first by using the vaccine in a mass vaccination campaign in Bentiu camp, South Sudan, which hosts people who have been displaced. 

At that time, the outbreak had been ongoing for more than two years. The vaccine was used to provide future protection to over 25,000 people. This latest campaign in Fangak County builds on the experience in Bentiu but is being administered in a vastly different context. 

Fonte original msf.org

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