Viral Hepatitis is preventable and treatable - MMC

Free hepatitis testing in downtown PG

Free hepatitis testing in downtown PG

The World Hepatitis Day is celebrated all over the world on July 28 to highlight the global spread of 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.

Out of the 325 million people living with viral hepatitis globally, upward of 290 million (that's 9 in 10!) are living with the hepatitis B or hepatitis C and don't know it.

Moreover, a postal stamp was also launched to sensitise people and spread awareness about the disease.

"Within the first year of the national programme, which targeted the 40-65 year age group, we were able to reach more than 350 000 people with hepatitis testing", said Ms Davaajantsan Sarangerel, Minister of Health, Mongolia. Of these, almost 25%, i.e. over 1 million, may develop chronic liver disease within 2 decades and 1%-4% of them may develop liver cancer.

"The more people who get treatment, the fewer new infections there will be".

It is estimated that there are 214,000 people living with hepatitis C in the United Kingdom, with approximately half of these not diagnosed. Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C are also the major cause of liver cancer in India.

Now 325 million men, women and children across the world are living with viral hepatitis.

Screening for HCV among blood donors has reduced the risk of acquiring HCV from blood products by half to two thirds. What is alarming is that Hepatitis B and C are chronic infections with the symptoms remaining dormant for as long as decades and at least 60 per cent of liver cancer occurs because of delay in the testing and treatment of viral Hepatitis B and C.

Information about World Hepatitis Day is usually distributed via social media, newspapers, posters, and through the World Health Organization (WHO) website.

Infections of hepatitis C are 83% are more prevalent among people living in north India, says a report from SRL Diagnostics.

About 80% of hepatitis C cases are asymptomatic, making diagnosis and treatment challenging. Left untreated, these infections lead to liver cancer and cirrhosis, which together caused more than 1.3 million deaths in 2015 alone. "When there is contact with blood, then there is the need for blood screening", he added. The events will include health experts, global representatives and patient groups from across the world being a part of awareness seminars, shedding light on innovative solutions and partnerships needed for elaborate treatment services. Those patients who have had road traffic accidents and have received multiple-transfusion, specifically in the scenario when these transfusions were not screened properly, drug addicts and people who needles repeatedly for injection of these drugs, healthcare workers who are not careful and can acquire pricks from patients who were infected and then the same needle got inserted into the worker themselves...

It also called on researchers to work on simplifying testing and treatment procedures, find a cure for Hepatitis B infection and a vaccine for Hepatitis C.

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