Did you know as per the latest estimates, 325 million people globally live with a Hepatitis infection?1 What makes this more appalling is that 9 out of 10, which is close to 290 million people living with Hepatitis are unaware of it.2
While the need of the hour is to eradicate this disease completely by finding, testing and treating these whooping number of missing millions by creating an awareness of the disease, it is essentially important to take preventive measures such as timely vaccination, especially for children.
To build AWARENESS around hepatitis and to get people to ACT on preventive measures, on World Hepatitis Day 2020, The Times of India launched ‘Let’s End Hepatitis’ in partnership with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories.
What is Hepatitis?3
It is an inflammation of the liver caused by the Hepatitis virus which if left untreated can progress to scarring, cirrhosis or liver cancer. Five types of Hepatitis viruses namely A, B, C, D and E can trigger the inflammation. These viruses have the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread if not acknowledged well. Of these, Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water while B and C are transmitted through contact with infectious body fluids like blood, vaginal secretions or semen. Hepatitis D, on the other hand is rare but a serious form of liver disease that occurs only in conjunction with Hepatitis B.
While an acute infection may occur with limited or no symptoms, a more progressive infection may include the following symptoms:
For Hepatitis, prevention is better than cure. Vaccinations are available for Hepatitis A and B. Besides vaccination, good hygiene practices like consuming safe and hygienic food, water; washing hands frequently and following proper sanitation practices can protect from Hepatitis A and E. Avoiding sharing of drug needles, razors, toothbrush and having protected sex can help prevent contracting Hepatitis B, C and D.
Chronic Hepatitis can even lead to serious health problems such as Liver Cirrhosis and Cancer, hence prevention becomes extremely important. The first priority to prevent this infection is to be aware and alert about this silent disease. Being proactive and taking the right preventive measures and protecting your family and children from the disease is the next top most priority. It’s high time we act and say adieu to this silent disease.