2022 World Hepatitis Day: Medical Expert Reminds People How to Avoid & Treat The Disease

Thursday 28th is world Hepatitis day. It is observed each year on July 28, to raise awareness of viral Hepatitis, which causes inflammation of the liver that leads to severe disease and liver cancer. It is with the theme “I Can’t Wait”.
According to experts, Hepatitis can simply be defined as the inflammation of the liver. 
However, he World is currently facing a new outbreak of unexplained acute hepatitis infections affecting Children. World Health organisation, Scientists and policymakers in affected countries are working to understand the cause of this infection that does not belong to the known viruses.

“There are an estimated 4.7 million chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) cases and 3.9 million chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) cases in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA). As many people who are infected with hepatitis B or C do not show symptoms,  this ‘silent disease’ is often not diagnosed. Left untreated, chronic infection with hepatitis B and C may progress to liver cirrhosis or cancer.

The recent European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) report, ‘Monitoring of responses to the hepatitis B and C epidemics in EU/EEA countries – 2020 data’ found that only eight countries were able to estimate the proportion of people diagnosed with hepatitis B; for hepatitis C, this number stood lower at seven. Among these countries, only around half met the target of having at least 50% of their population diagnosed. This highlights both the need to get more people diagnosed, and the need for better information”.  

In an interview with a Senior Registrar, Federal Medical Centre Umuahia, Dr Kelechi Ikonne, noted that Hepatitis is caused by hepatotropic viruses such as A, B and C Viruses, stressing that the Liver is a Vital Organ of the body which helps in the production of plasma proteins, filtering blood and fighting infections, hence any infection in the liver posses a threat to life.
Doctor Ikonne mentioned some Risk factors of Hepatitis to include: Close contact with a Hepatitis patient, receiving unscreened blood, lack of immunization and poor sanitary conditions,    adding that some Hepatitis patients can be Asymptomatic, while some can develop yellow ness of the eye, right upper abdominal pain, itching, kidney damage to mention but a few.
The Medical expert while calling on government, stakeholders and religious leaders to raise awareness on Hepatitis urged people to get vaccinated and keep their environment clean adding that children with sickle cell disease should get booster dose while Pregnant women should be screened for Hepatitis B. 
He further advised Hepatitis patients to comply with their  treatment to avoid complications as Hepatitis if detected early is not a death sentence.
Meanwhile, record shows that every 30 seconds someone dies from Hepatitis related illnesses or complications. One of the regions of the world with the highest burden of Hepatitis is Sub-Sahara Africa of which Nigeria is one of them, Don’t wait, get Diagnosed, Screened or Vaccinated now.

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