Pune: If you think you are safe from Hepatitis-you need to reconsider. According to a research conducted by World Health Organization's (WHO), 2 billion people have been infected with hepatitis B (HBV) and more than 150 million have chronic Hepatitis B infection. In addition, over 170 million have chronic Hepatitis C infection.
As per the study by an independent laboratory of the city, it is estimated that 20 million Indians are Hepatitis B carriers and about 8 million have Hepatitis C infection. Hepatitis being a silent killer and damaging the liver cells, causes 50 per cent of chronic liver diseases like liver cirrhosis leading to death of at least 10 per cent of people.
"Hepatitis B and C are tough to detect and often get detected when at a severe stage. Accurate diagnosis lacks in many cases, where the liver damage becomes severe enough to require a transplant. In India there are only four centers where the transplant can happen but costs more than Rs35 lakh. Thus, early precautions and diagnosis is a must," said Dr B.R. Das, President-Research & Innovation, Mentor-Molecular Pathology and Clinical Research Services, SRL Diagnostics Limited.
The HBV and HCV virus spreads through infected fluids and can easily break as an endemic. The city has recorded 88 cases of viral hepatitis infections since January. City based Hepatologist, Harshal Gadhikar said, "People often ignore hepatitis, just like AIDS it too can spread with sexual intercourse, blood transfusion and use of non sterilized needles. I attend to 1-2 cases of the chronic infections of HCV and HBV especially in the younger group of 20-40 years of age."
While Hepatitis A and E are also widely spread along with Hepatitis B and C, these are acute and can be treated with medicines. The Hepatitis A and E virus are known to spread through water and food. Dr Shishir Joshi of Sahyadri Hospitals said that there is an increase of acute hepatitis A and E infections in the youngsters. "Children and college going individuals eat outside, this transmits the A and E virus. One should always be careful in what they are eating and where they are eating," said Joshi.
According to Joshi the lifestyle changes in the current generation, unhygienic eating, low exercise or physical strain and unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking alcohol has become a serious threat as many youngsters are developing Hepatitis. 80 per cent of the fresh cases have become chronic.
Protect yourself from Hepatitis A and E
- Get yourself vaccinated
- Avoid eating raw or stale food
- Use basic cleanliness like washing hands before and after eating food, before sleeping, etc
- Wash vegetables and fruits before eating
- Drink clean and hygienic water
Protect yourself from Hepatitis B and C
- Get yourself vaccinated
- Do not share needles, razors or toothbrushes
- Use sterilized needles for injections or tattoos'
- Use condoms correctly and consistently
- Use oral medications as much as possible, avoid injections