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Hepatitis causing more deaths than HIV: WHO

by The Welthi Bureau | 05 DEC 2017

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 Image used for representational purpose only

Hepatitis viruses are the second most common cause for cirrhosis of liver across the world

 

 

Hepatitis is the world’s 7 th leading cause of death, killing more people than HIV/AIDS, malaria or tuberculosis, according to the WHO.

 

 

Hepatitis ‘B’ and Hepatitis ‘C’ viruses cause liver diseases, including cirrhosis of liver and liver cancer. These viruses are transmitted by blood and blood products, sexual contact, vertical transmission (mother to child transmission during pregnancy or birth), says Dr K.S. Somasekhar Rao, consultant gastroenterologist and hepatologist, Apollo Hospitals. Unsterilised use of needles, improper sterilisation of dental, surgical and endoscopic instruments, reuse of razor blades also lead to spread of the viruses.

 

 

The viruses cause inflammation of hepatocytes (liver cells) but the body tries to repair the cells by arresting the inflammation. The inflammation with intermittent repair for a long period leads to scarring of the liver tissue, decreasing its function and this is called cirrhosis of liver, he said.

 

 

Dr Rao said cirrhosis of liver is the common precursor for liver cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma). Early diagnosis can prevent cirrhosis of liver and liver cancer. Hepatitis C is the only chronic viral infection which can be cured. Oral antivirals with minimum side effects, can cure the disease in 12 weeks. Hepatitis B  virus is treatable. Treatment should be done with antivirals.

 

 

Liver, the second largest organ in human body, performs more than 600 vital functions. The common cause of liver disease is consumption of alcohol. Other causes include drugs, autoimmune disorders, hepatitis viruses, etc. Continuous medication can also lead to liver diseases, though they may have been prescribed for other ailments. Fatty liver disease is on the rise across the world.

 

 

Apollo Hospitals "Save the Liver" Foundation increases awareness and conducts screening camps for Hepatitis virus across Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Till date, "Save the Liver" Foundation conducted 92 Hepatitis awareness and screening camps across AP, Telangana and parts of Karnataka. About 300 Hepatitis "C" and 100 Hepatitis "B" patients were given treatment, Mr Rao added.


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