The Preventive Medicine Department at the Ministry of Public Health issued a statement on “Sapphire A”: “In light of what is being circulated through some social media and some media outlets regarding the cases of “Sapphire A” that were recently registered in Lebanon, the Ministry of Public Health is interested in clarifying the following:
– Whistling A disease has been endemic in Lebanon for years, and the Ministry of Health records annually many cases of this disease in more than one Lebanese region.
The incubation period of the disease ranges from two weeks to about 50 days, and therefore the cases recorded today have contracted the infection weeks ago.
Symptoms are usually summarized as fever, diarrhea and jaundice (wheezing) in adults who are more susceptible to complications of the disease. As for children, symptoms are usually mild. It may be absent in some cases, especially in infants.
– Fecal-oral transmission, and therefore the adoption of preventive measures is essential to reduce outbreaks. The main methods of preventing disease are personal hygiene, especially washing hands before eating, after using the toilet, and after changing diapers. As well as using clean water and safe disposal of solid and liquid waste.
– After studying the epidemiological situation of the areas that recorded a noticeable increase in the number of patients, it was found that the outbreak is likely caused by the deterioration of the infrastructure, which led to a mixture between drinking water and sewage water.
The Ministry of Health, in cooperation with the local authorities, monitors the rehabilitation of infrastructure and periodic sterilization of water sources. The ministry, in cooperation with international organizations, is also conducting awareness seminars for people on how to prevent disease and sterilize water using chlorine.
The high number of cases reported by some media outlets in separate Lebanese regions is not considered among the current outbreak in the North Governorate. Rather, it is a cumulative number since the beginning of this year, and it is only a reflection of the situation of “whiskeria A” that is endemic in Lebanon.
– The “Sapphire A” vaccine is not included in the national vaccination calendar, but rather it is optional, and the Ministry of Health is currently seeking to provide it in cooperation with international organizations to use it during similar outbreaks.
The ministry is closely following up, on a daily basis, the epidemiological situation of the disease, and during the last 24 hours, the outbreak recorded a decrease in the number of cases.
The Ministry of Public Health also calls upon citizens to obtain correct medical and epidemiological information from official and scientific references to prevent spreading panic in society.