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World Hepatitis Day: 28th July 2021| Fortis Hospital Mohali ‘Ignoring Symptoms can lead to serious liver complications’

Date : July 28, 2021

Mohali, July 28, 2021: In commemoration of World Hepatitis Day (28th July 2021), Doctors at Fortis Hospital Mohali sensitized citizens about the various types of hepatitis infections, the dangers associated with the same and why timely intervention and treatment was critical. The theme for this year, ‘Hepatitis Can’t Wait’, implies the urgent need to eliminate hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.

Dr Arvind Sahni, Director, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Fortis Hospital Mohali, while giving an insight into Hepatitis and its complications, said, “Hepatitis is a viral infection which results in the inflammation of the liver, causing complications such as liver failure, liver cirrhosis and even liver cancer. It poses an enormous burden on the healthcare system in India. Over one lakh people die from hepatitis-related illnesses every year in the country. To combat this effectively, The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the National Viral Hepatitis Control Program in 2018 to eradicate hepatitis.”

TYPES

Hepatitis A and E spread through contaminated water and food and can cause liver failure. Hepatitis E is severe in pregnancy and has a high foetal and maternal mortality. Hepatitis B and C spread like HIV virus via contaminated blood and body fluids through non-intact skin or mucosal membranes. These viruses can cause liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.

SYMPTOMS

Patients exhibit symptoms such as loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fever, headache, lethargy, dark urine, jaundice, abdominal pain and swelling of feet.

DIAGNOSIS

Hepatitis is diagnosed through Point-of-care tests.

COVID-19

People with Hepatitis may exhibit severe symptoms of covid infection, require more frequent hospital admission and have increased complications of the infection. Covid may cause deterioration of the pre-existing liver disease.

PREVENTION OF HEPATITIS B & C

Three doses of Hepatitis B vaccine given at one and six months after the first dose provide 90 percent protection for over 20 years. New-borns need to be vaccinated. High-risk groups include people on dialysis, transplant patients, intravenous drug users, prison inmates, medical professionals and sex workers. Blood banks must be regulated, and proper testing of blood must be done. Professional blood donors must be banned. Avoid getting tattoos, visiting roadside barbers, sharing syringes and needles, besides using personal belongings of an infected person such as razors, toothbrush etc. Practice safe sex.

PREVENTION OF HEPATITIS A & E

To safeguard oneself from Hepatitis A and E, consume clean drinking water, avoid eating cut fruits and vegetables in marketplaces. Two doses of vaccine given six months apart help prevent the infection.

PREVENTION OF COVID INFECTION

All patients with Hepatitis must take a WHO certified covid vaccine preferably on a priority basis as complications of the infection could be severe.

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