Thursday, 28 July 2016

July 28: World Hepatitis Day

World Hepatitis Day is an international event focused on raising awareness about viral hepatitis and influencing real change in disease prevention and access to testing and treatment.

Sadly, I once lost a 62 year old male patient with liver cirrhosis due to chronic hepatitis B infection. I felt really sad because he was such a kind and gentle man and wished he had survived. This sort of scenario is common in many Nigerian hospitals, but it can be prevented.

Although there are several hepatitis viruses, Hepatitis B and C are commonly responsible for liver cancer. They are acquired through contact with the blood, saliva, menstrual, vaginal, and seminal fluids of an infected person.

Transmission of the virus may also occur through the reuse of needles and syringes either in health-care settings or among persons who inject drugs. In addition, infection can occur during medical, surgical and dental procedures, through tattooing, or through the use of razors and similar objects that are contaminated with infected blood.
Most people do not experience any symptoms during the acute infection phase. However, some people have acute illness with symptoms that last several weeks, including yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. A small subset of persons with acute hepatitis can develop acute liver failure which can lead to death.

In some people, the hepatitis B virus can also cause a chronic liver infection that can later develop into cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer.

Chronic hepatitis B infection can be treated with drugs, including oral antiviral agents. Treatment can slow the progression of cirrhosis,.

So get tested today as early detection can significantly increase your chances of survival!

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