In a follow-up on the hepatitis E outbreak in the Diffa region in eastern Niger, as of May 3, a total of 282 suspected cases including 27 deaths have been reported. All reported deaths except for one death are among pregnant women.

Niger (in red) Image/FireSky
Niger (in red)

Since the beginning of the year, an increase in cases of jaundice was noted at the Centre Mere-Enfant de Diffa (Mother and Child Center) among pregnant women. Initially, the cases presented with headache, vomiting, fever, conjunctivitis, pelvic pain, and memory loss.

Yellow fever was first suspected; however, laboratory testing ruled out the mosquito borne virus. A combination of cases in pregnant women and the large outbreak in neighboring Chad put hepatitis E in the differential diagnosis.

Hepatitis E was laboratory confirmed by the Institut Pasteur de Dakar.

On Apr. 19, an outbreak was officially declared by the Minister of Health.

To date, five of the six districts in the Diffa region have reported cases, and 188 cases are from the Diffa and N’Guigmi districts.

This is the first confirmed hepatitis E outbreak in Niger.