If you thought that hepatitis was a disease of the old, it isn’t so. According to a recent research conducted by the World Health Organization, about 2 billion people are currently infected with hepatitis B and over 150 million have chronic Hepatitis B infection. Moreover, over 170 million people have the hepatitis C infection.
According to the study, which was done by an independent laboratory, it is estimated that 20 million Indians have the Hepatitis B virus and about 8 million have hepatitis C infection. This disease is a silent killer that damages the liver cells, causing about 50 per cent of the chronic liver diseases such as liver cirrhosis, leading to death of at least 10 percent of the people.
Hepatitis B and C are tough to detect and often get detected only when they have developed to an advanced stage. An accurate diagnosis of these diseases lacks in a lot of cases especially in those in which liver damage becomes so severe as to require a transplant. In India, there are only four centers where liver transplants can be done and going through this procedure requires one to pay Rs. 35 lakhs.
Therefore, taking early precautions as well as seeking timely diagnosis and treatment is necessary. The HBV and HBC virus spreads through infected fluids and can easily break as an endemic. Pune has recorded 88 cases of viral hepatitis infections since the month of January. Harshal Gadhikar, Pune based Hepatologist, said, “People often ignore hepatitis, just like AIDS it too can spread with sexual intercourse, blood transfusion and use of non sterilized needles. I attend to 1-2 cases of the chronic infections of HCV and HBV especially in the younger group of 20-40 years of age.”
Even though hepatitis A and E are widely spread along with hepatitis B and C, the former are acute and can be treated with the help of medicines. The Hepatitis A and E virus spread through food and water. Dr. Shishir Joshi of Sahyadri Hospitals said that there is an increase in the number of hepatitis A and E infections among the youngsters. He said, “Children and college going individuals eat outside and this transmits the A and E virus. One should always be careful in what they are eating and where they are eating”.
Article source: dnaindia
Image courtesy: Getty
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