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Raising awareness for prevention of viral hepatitis

Jul 26, 2019

Though hepatitis is a very common disease, most people confuse it with Jaundice.

New Delhi: To raise awareness on the rising issue of viral hepatitis Max Super Speciality Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, conducted a press conference, on the occasion of World Hepatitis Day. The event was exclusively dedicated to educate and encourage people to come forward to access hepatitis prevention, testing and treatment services.

Though hepatitis is a very common disease, most people confuse it with Jaundice, but both are different and people need to understand it for prevention. Jaundice on one hand is a symptom indicating an underlying disease affecting Liver or the biliary system, whereas Hepatitis is the name of a disease, which means there is inflammation of the Liver Parenchyma due to some cause.

Present at the occasion,Dr (Col) V K Gupta, Principal Consultant – Gastroenterology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, said,“At Max Hospital Shalimar Bagh in Gastroenterology Department, I have seen more than 30000 patients in OPD but the Number of Hepatitis B cases in last 7 years has been 82 whereas the Hepatitis C cases were 154. In most of the case of Hepatitis B – the infection was inactive, and no treatment was required whereas treatment was required in almost 90% cases of Hepatitis C. Most of the cases of Chronic Hepatitis are detected during routine screening at the time of blood donation, evaluation at the time of pregnancy, infertility and prior to any invasive procedure or surgery.”

The commonest cause of hepatitis is viral infection. The four common identified viruses are Hepatitis A Virus (HAV), Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and Hepatitis E Virus (HEV). Hepatitis A and E are usually transmitted by ingestion of virus through oral route (Infected food or water), where the transmission of Hepatitis B and C is through use of infected needles, infected blood or having sexual relationship with person infected with this infection. Hepatitis A and E cause acute infection and the disease gets cured within a few weeks to a few months and does not lead to any chronicity. Whereas the Hepatitis B and C infections are usually chronic. This chronicity of the infection may lead to complications in future like Cirrhosis Liver and Liver cancer (Hepato Cellular Carcinoma – HCC).

In India till approximately, thirty years ago, only Hepatitis B was being screened routinely in the laboratories and blood banks. Hepatitis C was added to the routine screening in 1990-1991. In India, Hepatitis B vaccine has been available for more than 35 years and became a part of immunization program in 1997-98. Since the use of routine vaccination by the general public, the incidence of Hepatitis B is gradually declining, and Hepatitis C is replacing the incidence of Hepatitis B. Till now there is no Vaccine available for Hepatitis C.

To create awareness among the general public about Hepatitis – World Hepatitis Day is observed on 28 July, so that public is made aware of this deadly disease, which can be eradicated by following Certain small precautions like use of vaccine against Hepatitis B, to avoid use of infected needles/syringes, to have barrier contraception while having sex with an infected partner, to avoid sharing of shaving razors and blades.

These small precautions can help us eradicate Hepatitis and save so many lives which are lost every year due to complications of hepatitis B and C.

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