Awareness on hepatitis poor, finds study

Awareness on hepatitis poor, finds study

A survey conducted by a leading Bangalore-based hospital has revealed that one in 50 people in the City have hepatitis B and one in 200 have hepatitis C.

Data gathered during the on-going survey on hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections among the urban population, by BGS Global Hospitals, under the ‘Bengaluru Hepatitis Project,” indicates that the awareness about the disease was extremely low. Going by the survey there is a need to ensure that preventive measures are put in place.

According to the study, a majority of those infected were unaware of the infection since they do not had any symptoms. The details of the study which were provided on the eve of World Hepatitis Day.

However, doctors reassured that treatment is possible if the infection is detected early and it can be completely prevented through vaccination. World Hepatitis Day is observed on July 28 every year and theme for this year is ‘Hepatitis: Think again’.

Patients aged between three months and 87 years were considered for the study.

The prevalence of hepatitis B infection was estimated to be 1.7 per cent, while the prevalence of hepatitis C was 0.2 per cent.

World over, the infection kills over around 1.5 million people every year, making it the eighth greatest killer in the world.

Dr Amruthesh T M, Associate Consultant, Gastroenterology and Hepatology Department, Sakra World Hospital, said, “Every year, about one lakh Indians die from hepatitis B, while one million are at risk of contracting it. Getting vaccinated against hepatitis B virus (HBV) is the safest way to protect oneself”.

Rampant in monsoon

Spreading a word of caution about hepatitis A and E that are water borne, Dr V V Raj, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Manipal Hospital, said that the self limiting infection was rampant during monsoon. Contaminated water is a main cause for this viral infection.

He also added that Hepatitis B, C and D, which were acute infections, will up the risk of liver problems such as liver sclerosis and liver cancer.

“The possibility of sclerosis would be close to 30 per cent while that of cancer would be 15,” he said.

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