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CELEBRATE AND CREATE AWARENESS WORLD HEPATITIS DAY 28TH JULY 2020

by The Welthi Bureau, July 28th, 2020

celebrate and create awareness world hepatitis day 28th july 2020
 Image used for representational purpose only

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver which can cause serious damage to the liver leading to its failure. Virus infection is the leading cause of hepatitis. Hepatitis virus A and E are usually self-limiting and treated with no major long term consequences. They are usually acquired by consumption of contaminated food and water. Hepatitis B & C infection commonly remain silent for many decades in the body and lead to chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver failure and sometimes causes liver cancer as well. 

 

As per WHO, 40 million and 6-12 million Indians are chronically infected with hepatitis B and C infections respectively. But an alarming 95% of these infected people, doesn’t know that they were infected before recognized with cirrhosis and liver cancer!! The only way to overcome this problem is to perform a simple blood screening test to everybody universally. 

 

Dr. Chalapathi Rao Achanta, Consultant Medical Gastroenterologist, KIMS ICON Hospital, Vizag, said, “Commonly, the infections are recognized during a screening before a blood donation, an international travel, a surgery or a job recruitment etc and it comes as a surprise and causes confusion to the patient and family. Frequently, they rush to a liver specialist in a panic situation to seek medical help as they will be denied of the above mentioned events in their life.” 

 

Hepatitis B and C are transmitted in many ways like sharing of contaminated needles, razors, syringes, receiving contaminated blood during transfusion, surgeries and procedures using unclean equipment, sexual contact, from mother to child. 

 

Once we recognize the viral hepatitis infection, we frequently run a battery of tests which include blood tests like liver function tests, PCR tests, various antigen and antibody tests etc and ultrasound scan etc. A newer modality called fibro scan now will allow us to estimate the amount of liver scarring/fibrosis/damage that happened without the need of liver biopsy. These tests allow us to assess the damage happened to the liver and also to estimate the severity/load of viral infection and treat accordingly. 

 

Hepatitis B is a vaccine preventable disease. Three shots of vaccine over 6 months will provide maximum prevention against this infection. Even if the disease likes chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis or liver failure happens, there are effective medications to control the virus and improve the liver status. On the contrary, an effective vaccine is currently lacking to prevent hepatitis C infection. But thanks to the excellent research from the western world and the availability of generic cheaper medicines in India, hepatitis C is now curable in >98% cases. 

 

Our aim as hematologists is to promote universal screening for everybody to detect hepatitis B and C infection before any liver disease happens, promote universal immunization to prevent hepatitis B, prescribe effective medicines to cure hepatitis C infection. Only by these following these steps, a dangerous disease like liver failure/ cirrhosis and cancer can be prevented.

 

Book Appointment: Dr. Chalapathi Rao Achanta, Consultant Medical Gastroenterologist, KIMS ICON Hospital, Vizag

 


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