VIRAL HEPATITIS – A Concern in India, Over 5 Million Indians are infected
The world Hepatitis week is from 23rd-28th July 2018. As a part of its obligation to the people of Chennai and creating awareness about Hepatitis, the Multi-Specialty Mehta’s Hospitals, Chetpet organized a press meet, where 3 Specialists- Doctors spoke about the disease, its impact and prevention and control.
The most important points shared were:
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. Over 5 Million Indians are infected & about I Lakh die every year, due to Hepatitis .
- Worldwide there are 325 million people infected & 1.34 million die every year due to Viral Hepatitis (Hepatitis B and C, which may not show any symptom for years). At least 60% of liver cancer cases are due to late testing and treatment of viral hepatitis B and C
- A large majority of these people lack access to life-saving testing and treatment.
- Millions of people are at risk of a slow progression to chronic liver disease, cancer, and death.
Interacting with the media Dr. Sunitha Sunil, Family Medicine & Preventive (Health) Care specialist said, Viral Hepatitis imposes a major healthcare burden in the India subcontinent. Maintaining adequate sanitary and hygienic conditions can help tackle the problem associated with enterically transmitted pathogens like HAV and HEV.
Following a multipronged approach of active screening, adequate treatment, universal vaccination against HBV and educational counseling can help decrease the burden of liver diseases associated with HBV and HCV infection in India.
Calling for the setting up of a hepatitis registry and formulation of government-supported prevention and control strategies is the most important step towards control of Viral Hepatitis.
Dr. Illavrasi, Medical Gastroenterologist explained the various forms of Hepatitis and its causes:
Hepatitis: It may be Acute triggered by some (recent infection/Certain Drugs/ Alcohol/ immune related or Chronic due to a Virus (Hep A/B/C/D&E)
Symptoms: Regardless of Acute or chronic condition will show up as fatigue, anorexia, abdominal pain, fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, jaundice, dark urine, and pale clay-colored stools.
Hepatitis A (HAV): as it is spread by FECO-ORAL route due to poor sanitation /habit. It is often mild, and most people make a full recovery, after which they are immune and therefore protected from the virus in the future.
Hepatitis B (HBV): can be transmitted when a person has unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person, shares a needle with an infected person often for illegal drug or steroid use, has a tattoo created with unsterilized needles, is accidentally pricked, for example, health workers dealing with sharp objects, shares personal items, such as a toothbrush or razor, with an infected person is bitten by someone who is infected, an infected mother can pass the virus on to her infant when breast-feeding.
Dr. Yamini Chitra, Hepatobiliary Surgeon describing the disease further she said:
HBV infection can become chronic. This can lead to complications, including scarring of the liver, or cirrhosis. It can also cause a type of cancer known as hepatocellular carcinoma.
There is not currently a cure for HBV. However, the incidence rate has dropped in countries where the vaccine is available, and this vaccine is 95 percent effective against the infection.
Hepatitis C (HCV): can be transmitted through contact with blood and can also cross the placenta. Hepatitis C usually leads to chronic hepatitis, culminating in cirrhosis in some people. It usually remains asymptomatic for decades. Patients with hepatitis C are susceptible to severe hepatitis if they contract either hepatitis A or B, so all persons with hepatitis C should be immunized against hepatitis A and hepatitis B if they are not already immune, and avoid alcohol.
HCV viral levels can be reduced to undetectable levels by a combination of interferon and the antiviral drugs.
Hepatitis D (HDV): or hepatitis delta agent can only propagate in the presence of the hepatitis B virus. HDV causes Type D Hepatitis & has no independent existence and can survive and replicate as long as HBV infection persists in the host body.
Hepatitis E (HEV): produces symptoms similar to hepatitis A, transmitted enterally. Although it can take a fulminant course in some patients, particularly pregnant women; chronic infections may occur in immune-compromised patients. It is more prevalent in the Indian subcontinent.
Global fight back against viral hepatitis!
UN Member States have made a commitment to combat hepatitis under the goal 3.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. WHO’s Draft Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis gives the much needed roadmap and targets to combat hepatitis. It provides realistic targets and action plans to eliminate hepatitis by 2030.
In connection with World Hepatitis Day a Free Screening Camps & Awareness Talks( between 23rd -28th July 2018), Family Physician Consultation & Discounted Vaccination, Investigations Specialists Consultation and Treatment are being provided.
For further info call Dr. Sunitha Sunil, 94451 66784, Mehta’s Hospitals