By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 29 Jul: Hepatitis is still a major health problem in India. Of all the categories, Hepatitis B is known to be highly contagious. It is believed that around 3 to 5 % of the population is battling Hepatitis B. To generate awareness on the occasion of ‘World Hepatitis Day’, experts from Max Super Speciality Hospital, Dehradun, addressed the media on Thursday.
Present on the occasion were Dr Mayank Nautiyal, Consultant & HOD-Liver Transplant and Gastrointestinal Surgery; Dr Mayank Gupta, Consultant, Gastroenterology, and Dr Sandeep Singh Tanwar, Senior Vice President – Operations & Unit Head, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Dehradun.
Addressing the media, Dr Mayank Nautiyal revealed, “Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. There are five main types of the hepatitis virus – A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis B and C lead to chronic disease in hundreds of millions of people globally, and together are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and viral hepatitis-related deaths. Now, effective vaccine is available for hepatitis B. Two out of three people do not know they are infected with hepatitis B. Both Hepatitis B and C are leading causes of liver transplants and liver cancer. Hepatitis B can range from a mild illness, lasting a few weeks, to a serious, life-long (chronic) condition. More than 90% of unimmunised infants who get infected develop a chronic infection. As many as 15%–25% of chronically infected people develop chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer.”
Dr Mayank Gupta added, “Globally more than 350 million people are still living with this life-threatening disease. While there are evidence-based, effective and safe interventions to diagnose and prevent chronic hepatitis B and C, most people remain undiagnosed and untreated. Stigma and discrimination continue to be a barrier to testing and care. Only 10% and 21% of people know that they live with chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C, respectively, even fewer receive treatment, and liver cancer related to hepatitis is on an exponential rise especially in low- and middle-income countries. Furthermore, acute hepatitis A and E continue to impact people’s health all over the world.”
It was also stated that hepatitis B virus can also be transmitted at birth from an infected mother; unprotected intercourse with an infected person; sharing equipment that has been contaminated with blood from an infected person, such as needles, syringes, and even medical equipment, such as glucose monitors; sharing personal items such as toothbrushes or razors. Poor infection control has resulted in outbreaks in health care facilities.