Prevention, vaccine and everything else you should know about hepatitis

Government will launch the National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme in New Delhi on World Hepatitis Day today. "Region-wide, an estimated 40 million people live with chronic hepatitis B while an estimated 10 million live with chronic hepatitis C", she said. It used the services of Amitabh Bachchan in its campaign, introduced vaccination in the infant immunisation program towards the beginning of this decade, and has very cleverly introduced Hepatitis B screening in the antenatal check up; this is crucial as the cycle of infection uses the mother-infant route.

The rise in Hepatitis B is because of multiple blood transfusions and surgical procedures that follow unsafe practices. The day is an opportunity to highlight one of the world's most pressing public health issues. There are five main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E, which pose the greatest risk. Annually, hepatitis C kills more Americans than any other infectious disease.

The public could help prevent the spread of the hepatitis A virus by always washing hands after using the toilet and ensuring that fruit and vegetables were washed with clean water before eating. Hepatitis B can be managed with highly effective medicines. The guidelines enable major simplifications in the delivery of curative therapy to the 70 million people living with chronic hepatitis C in the world.

Viral hepatitis is a leading cause of death worldwide (1.46 million deaths, a toll higher than that from HIV, tuberculosis or malaria, and on the increase since 1990). But due to lack of knowledge about liver diseases and their prevention, the number of liver patients is increasing gradually in the country, he added.

Eliminating hepatitis C from pakistan is achievable target if combined efforts are made in the right direction.

Further, more than 90 per cent newborns should receive the hepatitis B vaccine's birth dose, while at least 95 per cent of children should complete the vaccine's three-dose schedule.

The Western Pacific Region has the largest number of people living with chronic hepatitis infections among the 6 World Health Organization regions. It may also be given to neonates who are at increased risk of contracting Hepatitis B i.e. whose mothers are HBsAg and HBeAg positive.

Nearly 100 countries now recognize World Hepatitis Day each year through events such as demonstrations, concerts, talk shows, free screenings, poster campaigns, flash mobs and vaccination drives.

PHE strongly encourages anyone who may have been at risk of HCV to get tested, whether or not they have any symptoms. Increased levels of testing and diagnosis are essential if we are to reach our goal of eliminating hepatitis C as a major public health threat in the United Kingdom by 2030, at the latest.

Vanessa Coleman

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