World Hepatitis Day 2022: Hepatitis (swelling in the liver) is caused by 5 main type of viruses; Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. Viral hepatitis is the 7th leading cause of death worldwide. Every year 28th July is celebrated as World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness and encourage activities to tackle this global menace. The burden of hepatitis is growing in the World and in India too.
According to Dr. Rajnish Monga – HOD-Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Paras Hospitals, Gurgugram – the viruses can be divided into 2 categories:
1. Water borne: Hepatitis A and E. These have short term health implications like jaundice and risk to life.
2. Blood borne: Hepatitis B, C and D. They lead to long term consequences such as liver
cirrhosis and liver cancer if not treated in time.
The theme of this years World Hepatitis Day is “Bringing hepatitis care closer to you”. It aims to bring awareness and simplify treatment of hepatitis and bring it closer to the community beyond the tertiary hospital sites into the Primary health centers and community health setting.
Hepatitis B and C are widely prevalent in the Indian cities and villages with a prevalence rate of 3% (Hepatitis B) and 1% (Hepatitis C) approximately.
These are easy to diagnose with simple blood tests and can be managed with readily available and cheap medication hence decreasing the risk of long term complications of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Five actions to protect yourself from getting Hepatitis B and C.
1. Use sterile injections always.
2. Don’t share razors and blades.
3. Practice safe sex.
4. Use safe tattooing and piercing practices.
5. Vaccinate newborns against Hepatitis B.
Hepatitis A and E are waterborne disease causing jaundice (yellow eyes and dark urine). These are transmitted by contaminated water and have been responsible of major epidemics of jaundice in India. Hepatitis A is the major virus causing jaundice in children.
Hepatitis E infection in later half of the pregnancy carries a very high risk to mothers life hence the need to prevent such infections.
Actions to protect yourself from getting Hepatitis A and E
1. Don’t drink water or use ice that you know is not clean or from a unreliable source. Boiling and chlorination kills the viruses.
2. Don’t eat uncooked pork and shell fish.
3. Wash your hands with soap and water after using toilet, before preparing or eating food.
4. Vaccinate children and patients of liver disease with Hepatitis A vaccine.