Principal Investigator: Thomas Handzel, CDC Foundation
This study aimed to determine primary routes of hepatitis E virus (HEV) transmission and spread through epidemiologic and environmental investigations during an HEV outbreak among emergency affected persons, including pregnant women. The research also sought to determine the effectiveness of chlorine disinfection to inactivate HEV. The study was due to be undertaken as a rapid trigger grant in response to an outbreak in a to-be-determined crowded refugee/IDP camp setting.
The grant was unable to be triggered, since an HEV outbreak did not occur in a suitable camp setting within the extended trigger window period. Some laboratory-based work was undertaken to develop cell cultures and to test disinfection strategies. These studies have encountered challenges in producing the required cell cultures, although CDC is continuing these efforts using their own funds. CDC is also investigating a non-humanitarian HEV outbreak in peri-urban settlements in Namibia, which have similar environmental conditions to camp settings. It is hoped this work may provide insights on transmission which can be applied to emergency contexts.
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