Specialist Group
Health Related Water Microbiology

Hepatitis A - Pakistan: (Azad Kashmir

A ProMED-mail post,http://www.promedmail.org, ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseaseshttp://www.isid.org

Date: Mon 6 Dec 2010
Source: The Express Tribune

As a result of poor hygiene standards and the lack of awareness campaigns, hepatitis A is fast spreading in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), doctors of the area have said. Hepatitis A is an acute illness associated with fever, malaise, jaundice, anorexia and nausea. The disease is spreading at an alarming rate, especially in the earthquake affected areas of the region, where hygiene conditions have still not improved despite all the money that was spent on these areas to rehabilitate the health structure.

The Health Department has still not launched any awareness campaigns to educate the masses about this fast spreading disease. The Khalifa Sheikh Zaid Al-Nayan hospital in Muzaffarabad has been receiving patients from the earthquake affected areas of the Neelum and Jhelum valley, Bagh and Rawalakot districts infected with hepatitis A.

A recent survey conducted by Dr Tahir Raheem Mughal, a general practitioner (GP) at the hospital in Muzaffarabad, observed that at least 150 patients were diagnosed with hepatitis A in last 2 months.
"Acute viral hepatitis (AVH) is one of the most common diseases in the patients who visited hospital," Mughal said. Doctors have observed that the reason for the spread of AVH in AJK is through the fecal-oral route, which means that the infection travels from one person to another when a person comes into contact with something that is directly or indirectly contaminated by feces of another infected person.

"Though the hygiene conditions in the region have improved, the lack of proper sewerage lines adds to the increasing number of AVH patients," Mughalsaid. The sewerage system in AJK was functional, but after the October 2005 earthquake, it was destroyed and has still not been repaired 5 years on. Another big reason for the spread of this disease is the consumption of contaminated water.

Health experts say that increasing the awareness amongst the general population regarding preventive measures and improving hygienic conditions are essential. Hepatitis A vaccine can prevent the spread of the infection, but patients predominately come to the hospital late. Two doses are needed 6-18 months apart to ensure long-term protection.

[Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) [current ISO nomenclature: Azad Kashmir (JK) - CopyEd.MSP], is the southernmost political entity within the Pakistani-administered part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. It borders the present-day Indian-controlled state of Jammu and Kashmir to the east (separated from it by the Line of Control), Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to the west, Gilgit-Baltistan to the north, and the Punjab Province of Pakistan to the south. With its capital at Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir covers an area of 13 297 square km (5134 sq mi) and has an estimated population of about 4 million.

Hepatitis A is a viral liver disease that can cause mild to severe illness. It is spread by faecal-oral transmission when a person ingests food or drink contaminated by an infected person's stool. The disease is closely associated with poor sanitation and a lack of personal hygiene habits, such as hand-washing. Epidemics can be explosive in growth, and improved sanitation and hepatitis A vaccine are the most effective ways to combat the disease.

The symptoms of hepatitis A range from mild to severe, and can include fever, malaise, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, nausea, abdominal discomfort, dark-colored urine and jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes). Not everyone who is infected will have all of the symptoms. Adults have signs and symptoms of illness more often than children, and the severity of disease and mortality increases in older age groups. Infected children under 6 years of age do not usually experience noticeable symptoms, and only 10 percent develop jaundice. Among older children and adults, infection usually causes more severe symptoms, with jaundice occurring in more than 70 percent of cases. Most people recover in several weeks -- or sometimes months -- without complications. (More detailed information can be accessed at:http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs328/en/index.html

A map and further information about Azad Jammu and Kashmir can be found athttp://www.ajk.gov.pk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=62&Itemid=96.

see also:

Hepatitis, viral - Pakistan (04): (SD) prisoners 20091125.4045 Hepatitis, viral - Pakistan (03), syringe re-use 20090920.3304 Hepatitis, viral - Pakistan (02): prevalence 20090610.2141 Hepatitis, viral - Pakistan: (SD) fatal 20090609.2125

Hepatitis, viral - Pakistan 20070306.0796




Click here to read the latest newsletter of the HRWM Specialist Group, with updates on Watermicro2017, the ISFEV2016 conference and IWA World Water Congress in Brisbane and several highlights on (activities of) HWRM group members.


The 19th International Symposium on Health-Related Water Microbiology is organized by the International Water Society (IWA) Specialist Group on Health-Related Water Microbiology (HRWM) biennially. In 2017, the Symposium will run concurrently with the annual Water Microbiology Conference to create a forum for researchers and practitioners focused on microbiology and public health to come together around the intersection of the two. The Conference will be held in Chapel Hill, North Carolina from May 15 – 19, 2017. The Conference will blend interactive workshops with scientific symposia and poster socials, offering participants a variety of opportunities to exchange ideas, debate challenging topics and explore potential collaborations. The focus will be on water microbiology from watershed to human exposure including current concerns in recreational waters, shellfish harvesting waters, emerging technologies and quantitative tools. IWA members will be able to participate in all Water Microbiology Conference sessions as well as several exclusive to members of the IWA Specialist Group on Health-related Water Microbiology.

Abstract Submissions due: January 1, 2017
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Side Events submission due: January 1, 2017
Willie Grabow Young Investigator Award, application due: January 10, 2017

More information, including the call for abstracts, accommodation details, and registration will be available soon! See http://waterinstitute.unc.edu/conferences/watermicro/

Call for nominations

Nominations are open to fill the following positions on the HRWM Management Committee:

  1. Secretary to serve for four years (2017 – 2021)
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Nominations should be clearly marked and sent to Rosina: rgirones@ub.edu and Gary: gary.toranzos@upr.edu Nominations close on 20 November 2016.
Nominees will be alerted and names of nominees will be published in the March 2017 Newsletter, together with a call for votes , two months prior to WaterMicro in May 2017.

Joan Rose receives Stockholm Water Price

Prof. Joan B. Rose, Ph.D. from Michigan State University was the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize for her extended contribution to public health and water quality research. She is a true ambassador for the HRWM research field! The Stockholm Water Prize Nominating Committee said that “The nexus of water-related microbiology, water quality and public health is rife with uncertainty – in both theory and practice. The world is blessed with few individuals who can tackle the increasing and changing challenges to clean water and health, starting from state-of-the-art science through dedicated and original research, then moving to professional dissemination, effective lobbying of the legislative arena, influencing practitioners, and raising the general awareness. Joan Rose is the leading example of this extremely rare blend of talents.” She was awarded the prize by the King of Sweden at a special banquet during the Stockholm Water Week. Congratulations from the HRWM Specialist Group on this accomplishment!

 Joan Rose receives Stockholm Water Price 

Mark Sobsey receives Clarke Prize

The National Water Research Institute (NWRI) has announced that Prof. Mark D. Sobsey, Ph.D., will be the twenty-third recipient of the NWRI Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize for excellence in water research. The 2016 NWRI Clarke Prize, consisting of a medallion and $50,000 award, will be handed over at a prestigious event held on 3 November 2016. Every year this award recognizes research accomplishments that solve real-world water problems and highlights the importance and need to continue funding this type of research. Professor Sobsey’s leadership and contributions to the fields of environmental health microbiology, virology, and water sanitation and hygiene were among the reasons cited for his selection as the 2016 recipient. Congratulations from the HRWM Specialist Group on this accomplishment!

 Mark Sobsey receives Clarke Prize 

New Editor-In-Chief Journal of Water and Health

Congratulations to Prof. Nicholas J. Ashbolt on his appointment as the new Editor-In-Chief for the Journal of Water and Health. Many thanks also to Prof. Paul R. Hunter for the years of hard work and the success he and his team achieved during his time as Editor for the Journal.

Global Water Pathogen Project

The Global Water Pathogen Project (GWPP) is an international network of over 140 scientists focused on translating the science on global water pathogens, sanitation, and health in order to protect global health. Led by Dr. Joan B. Rose of Michigan State University and Dr. Blanca Jimenez, Director of the Division of Water Sciences, UNESCO, the GWPP provides an online knowledge resource and hub on water pathogens, which will guide the goals for sanitation and achieving safe water around the world. The GWPP grew out of an interest to update the book “Sanitation and Disease: Health Aspects of Excreta and Wastewater Management” (Feachem et al.1983), which was published with a financial contribution from the World Bank. The GWPP will update and revise the original book, as well as target the risk based evaluation of sanitation technologies within the WHO water safety framework and contribute to the improvement of access to sanitation. See http://www.waterpathogens.org

 Global Water Pathogen Project 

IWA News

Global Trends & Challenges in Water Science, Research and Management, Second Edition, Published by International Water Association (IWA), London , UK, ISBN 9781780408378. Download it at : http://www.iwa-network.org/publications/global-trends-challenges-in-water-science-research-and-management/

HRWM SG Young Water Professionals (YWP)

Are you interested in playing a more active role as a young water professional, specifically in the IWA Health Related Water Microbiology Specialist Group? Well now is your chance. Please familiarise yourself with the rules of the game at: http://www.iwa-network.org/young-water-professionals.php
Please email your interest and specific ideas to msteyn@csir.co.za You will then be included in a mailing list specifically for HRWM SG YWP and you will then be contacted to form part of the forum to generate ideas towards WaterMicro 2017.

IWA General information: Connect and Contribute

As an IWA member we encourage you to connect and contribute to:


  • Thematic Programmes – IWA is pleased to offer our YWPs the ability to get some work experience by contributing to the projects in the programmes. Please contact the programme coordinator in case you are willing to offer support.
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