July 28, 2018 is World Hepatitis Day. The Theme this year is –Eliminate Hepatitis. The objective of the World Hepatitis Day is to send out a strong and strident message to people across the world, to create awareness and take action and join the massive movement to test and cure millions suffering from the viral.
Speaking on the occasion Dr Dharmesh Kapoor – Senior Hepatologist at Gleneagles Global Hospitals said, “On occasion of the World Hepatitis Day which is on 28 July I wish everyone at Hyderabad a very happy and healthy World Hepatitis Day as well as good health to you liver. Please understand that we remember this particular day so that we further reinforce our resolve to have a very healthy liver. There are preventive as well as curative measures that are available. Please make sure that you are vaccinated against Hepatitis B. Be very sure about the food and water that you consume so that you do not contract Hepatitis A and Hepatitis E. Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C which are likely to go on to chronic liver disease in a proportion of the patients are much more important for the community at large. Be very careful so that you stay from the alcohol, you stay away from drugs, you do not lead a high risk life and be very careful about the surroundings as wells as the interventions which might happen to you. The Transfusions that we receive, the angiograms, tattooing – all these are the procedures which can potentially transmit this virus to a given individual. Please remember that help is readily available provided we know that someone is infected with these viruses. Treatment is available both for Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B. All you have to remember is not to wait for the symptoms to occur – go and have yourselves screened and if you find that these tests are positive, see an expert doctor.”
Dr Kapoor further added, “The community prevalence of Hepatitis B in our country and in most part of our state is between 2 to 3 per cent. The prevalence of Hepatitis C is much lower and is at 1 to 1.5 per cent. There are certain pockets where there is a higher density of the Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B. The high risk individuals are those who receive the multiple transfusions, those who have been incarcerated and those who have history of high risk behaviour in the past. So, these are the categories of the patients who should get their virus screening done and if the tests are positive for these viruses, they should meet the expert doctor.”
Dr Kapoor advises, “Please remember that these infections are very easy to treat at the early stages of the liver disease but once you develop a chronic scarring in the liver, the infections become more difficult to handle and the treatment also becomes much, much longer. So, help is readily available, all you need to do is to get yourself tested and see an expert doctor.”
Viral hepatitis is a cause for major health care burden in India and is now equated as a threat comparable to the “big three” communicable diseases – HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Hepatitis A virus and Hepatitis E virus are predominantly enterically transmitted pathogens and are responsible to cause both sporadic infections and epidemics of acute viral hepatitis. Hepatitis B virus and Hepatitis C virus are predominantly spread via parenteral route and are notorious to cause chronic hepatitis which can lead to grave complications including cirrhosis of liver and hepatocellular carcinoma. Around 400 million people all over the world suffer from chronic hepatitis.
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. The condition can be self-limiting or can progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer. Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis in the world but other infections, toxic substances (e.g. alcohol, certain drugs), and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis.