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Hepatitis: Find the Missing Millions.

4 mins

“Worldwide, 290 million people are living with viral hepatitis unaware. Without finding the undiagnosed and linking them to care, millions will continue to suffer, and lives will be lost. On World Hepatitis Day, 28 July, we call on people from across the world to take action and raise awareness to find the missing millions.”

worldhepatitisday.org

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that is caused by Viruses, Bacteria, Alcohol, Drugs and other toxins. Hepatitis is a liver disease and since it affects a major organ in the body, it is imperative to avoid the causative risk factors by all means.

Photo credit: Canva

It is worthy to note that the liver is responsible for,

  •  combating infections in the body by detoxifying the blood of particles and infections.
  • controlling levels of fats, amino acids and glucose in the blood.
  • processing digested food from the intestine among other functions.

Learn smart ways to Maintain a Healthy Liver.

Of all types of Hepatitis, the most severe are Hepatitis B and C.

Hepatitis B is caused by an infection with the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) which results to either

– an acute illness that usually resolves itself quickly without causing long-term liver damage

– or a chronic illness (CHB) like the hardening of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, etc, and lasts for more than 6 months and in some cases ultimately death.

In Nigeria, approximately 17-34 million people are infected with the virus and it also accounts for 200,000 annual deaths in the country.

What you must know about this disease is that it is:

  • 100 times more infectious than HIV.
  • 10 times more infectious than Hepatitis C.
  • Survives outside the body for at least 7 days.

– Ribeiro, et al. Microbes Infect. 2002;4:829-835.

It can be transmitted via sexual contacts, contaminated sharp objects, mother to infant, child to child (as infected children can pass on the disease to other children if there is frequent contact) and unscreened blood transfusion.

In Africa, most chronic cases of Hepatitis B infections are mainly transmitted from mother to child during birth or from child to child as infected children can pass on the disease to other children if there is frequent contact.

On the other hand, Hepatitis C can be transmitted through the ways Hepatitis B is contracted including the sharing of personal items like toothbrush, unsterilized ear and body piercing, circumcision and tattooing.

The tricky side to this disease is that the early stages are asymptomatic. This means that it shows no symptoms which is why it is usually referred to as “the silent killer” as the liver is often damaged before the patient is even aware that he/she is infected.

But there is Good news!

Even though the disease is difficult to be noticed by the patient at the initial stage, it can be detected by health experts. Diagnosis requires a simple blood test!

Do you also know that unlike some deadly diseases that have no cure, there is a vaccine for Hepatitis?

hepatitis vaccine shot

Now that you know, ensure to get screened and know your status. If negative, endeavor to get vaccinated!

If you are tested positive, it is not the end of the world. Effective treatment is available. You can Speak to a Specialist for expert advice on better treatment options.

Come July 28th, the World Hepatitis Day, we will once again be presented with an opportunity to join the world to raise awareness of the global burden of viral Hepatitis and lend our voices to the challenges of prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Spread the word in your little and big corners.

A Hepatitis-free world is achievable. It all begins with you and me.

Medical Disclaimer: KompleteCareā„¢ aims to improve the quality of life for everyone with fact-based content about the nature of diseases, preventive care, behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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Ginika is the Lead content writer at KompleteCare. She also doubles as an editor and proofreader for everything that concerns content. When she's not writing content for KompleteCare, you might find her copy-editing works for authors before publication. Reach Ginika at ginika.okeke@kompletecare.com

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