Hepatitis E kills 16 Sudanese refugees in South SudanListen /
An outbreak of Hepatitis E has claimed the lives of 16 Sudanese refugees living in camps in South Sudan, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR.
Hepatitis E is a viral disease that attacks the liver and is transmitted through eating food or drinking water contaminated with faecal material.
UNHCR says there have been 23 confirmed cases of the disease in three refugee camps hosting over 104,000 Sudanese refugees in Upper Nile State.
Adrian Edwards from UNHCR says five of those who died were pregnant women.
"Hepatitis E hits young people between the ages of 15 and 40 hardest. In the three camps where we see refugees with acute jaundice syndrome, more than half are between 20 and 39. Hepatitis E is particularly dangerous for pregnant women where the death rate can be as high as 25 per cent. Together with our partners, we are improving sanitation in the camps, and increasing the amount and availability of safe drinking water. Flooding and use of contaminated surface water for drinking has been persistent health challenge in this part of South Sudan."