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Timely intervention can prevent Hepatitis from becoming an epidemic in India

World Hepatitis Day – 28th July, 2019

New Delhi: World Hepatitis Day is witnessed every year on 28th July to provide an opportunity to step up national and international efforts to spread awareness about Hepatitis. This year World Hepatitis day is urging all countries and partners to promote the theme ‘Invest in eliminating hepatitis “and policymakers to increase political and financial commitments for the same.

Despite dramatic advances and developments in the treatment of Hepatitis B and C, elimination of both types of the disease remains difficult due to lack of awareness among masses. Globally, around 350 million people are living with chronic hepatitis B and becoming a prime reason for liver failure & cancer. Only 10 to 15% percent of the population are unaware of its causes and remain undiagnosed. Among all countries, India stands fourth which carry almost 50% of the global burden of chronic hepatitis.  

Inflammation of the liver (commonly known as hepatitis) can result from viral infection and as all the symptoms are nearly close enough, without a diagnostic test, it is impossible to differentiate. Hepatitis is widespread in India. Lack of regular check-up and diagnosis are the prime reasons for being undetected and sufferings. The other reason includes people who have had tattoos, or injects drugs, food/healthy supplements, anti-tuberculosis therapy etc.

“As the function of the liver is to help in digestion by producing proteins, enzymes and other substances, clear toxins from the body and generate energy from food. Any abnormality in the production of the components is a serious indication of an ailment that the liver is not functioning well. In case suspecting an improper functioning of the liver, liver function test (LFT) and viral markers may be done wherein a sample of blood is taken for analyses. Said Dr. Ramesh Garg, MD, DM , HOD, Gastroenterology, Saroj Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi.

There are 5 types of Hepatitis known as A, B, C, D and E , in which A and E are water borne ad spreads through contaminated food or water, then Hepatitis B, C and D are blood borne and at last Hepatitis D causes infection only along with Hepatitis B. The major concern is being focused for Hepatitis B which can spread unknowingly from a mother who is infected to a new born child. Over 90% of new hepatitis B infections occur through mother–to–child transmission and during the early age of childhood.

So it is mandatory to test a mother for Hepatitis B during pregnancy and take preventions after positive results including immunologic and vaccination. Hepatitis C is now fully treatable disease. We have oral effective medication available cheaply now a days. Hepatitis A & E are limiting and needs supportive treatment.

‘Now the major change has been achieved after introduction of vaccine for Hepatitis B which is a safe, affordable, and well tested too. The improvement area is visible in the case of Hepatitis B infection is among children group which is being reduced from 4.7% (before introduction of vaccine) to 1.3% n 2015 after introduction of vaccine. It is very much important for everyone to get vaccinated against Hepatitis B as it works as armor for you to protect from this killer viral infection added Dr. Ramesh Garg.

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