Theme – ‘Find the Missing Millions’
New Delhi: Being a serial killer, it is the 2nd most common infection responsible for high mortality rate following tuberculosis. While posing a major health challenge for the country, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C accounts for over 96% mortality rate due to all forms of viral hepatitis.
Another interesting fact is that of the total patients suffering from this condition, around 80% are unaware of it, and hence it is termed as silent invaders in the initial stages. This unawareness further increases the chances of transmission between individuals and delay in treatment leads to poor outcomes later. Hepatitis B is the 2nd most common cause of cirrhosis in India (after Alcohol). It is the leading cause of liver cancer in India (> 40% of all Liver cancer are Hepatitis B related).
According to the recent data provided by WHO, there is a prevalence of over 29 crore people are living with viral hepatitis and are yet unaware of it. This lack of awareness leaving undiagnosed, many are still continuing to suffer and most of them lose their lives in this unknown fight. Around 5 crore Indians suffer from Hepatitis B and around 1.2 crore have been diagnosed with Hepatitis C.
“While the viral infection can affect one and all equally, those with family history of liver ailments, cirrhosis or liver cancer, individuals with high risk of sexual behavior, IV drug abuse, surgeries and blood transfusions body piercing or history of tattooing are at an increased risk of getting diagnosed with Hepatitis B or C. Apart from them, those suffering from recurrent jaundice also need to get their liver function checked every now and then. Onset of hepatitis is also prevalent among those individuals who are starting on immune-suppressants or anti-cancer therapy are also highly vulnerable and need to get a timely diagnosis in order to recover well.” Said Dr. Vibhu Vibhas Mittal, Senior Consultant – Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Patparganj
This is a special opportunity on the occasion of World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness about the importance of knowing the condition and to spread a word about the treatment modules available to the masses. As both the conditions are treatable, doctors may prescribe oral medications without significant side effects. Hepatitis C can now be cured with these antivirals. Hepatitis B can also be managed with oral medications and prevent the occurrence of permanent liver damage, liver failure and liver cancer.
“Being a part of the immunization program in India since 2011, a very effective vaccination for Hepatitis B is available as a preventive measure. It has been recommended vaccination for all the new born in their routine schedule, even adults can be given a dose.” Added Dr Mittal