World hepatitis day: Hepatitis can't wait (28 July 2021)
The date of 28 July was chosen because it is the birthday of Nobel-prize winning scientist Dr Baruch Blumberg, who discovered hepatitis B virus (HBV) and developed a diagnostic test and vaccine for the virus. Viral hepatitis is a cause for major health care burden in India and is recently equated as a threat comparable to the “big three” communicable diseases – HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis. Hepatitis A virus and Hepatitis E virus are predominantly enterically transmitted pathogens and are responsible to cause both sporadic infections and epidemics of acute viral hepatitis. Hepatitis B virus and Hepatitis C virus are predominantly spread via parenteral route and are notorious to cause chronic hepatitis which can lead to complications including cirrhosis of liver and hepatocellular carcinoma. The Government of India launched a new National Viral Hepatitis Control Program (NVHCP) on World Hepatitis Day -28 July 2018. It is mainly focused on prevention and control of viral hepatitis, with a view to provide free of charge screening, diagnosis, treatment & counselling services to all, and specially to people belonging to high-risk groups to achieve SDG (sustainable development goal) 3.3 which aims ending viral hepatitis by 2030 as envisaged in National Health Policy 2017. It is very important that you take care of preventive measures if participate in risky behaviors. Take preventive steps, too, if you work in places like a nursing homes, dormitories, daycare centers, or restaurants where there you have extended contact with other people and a risk of coming into contact with the disease. Viral infections of the liver that are classified as hepatitis include hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. A different virus is responsible for each type of virally transmitted hepatitis. Hepatitis A is always an acute, short-term disease, while hepatitis B, C, and D are most likely to become ongoing and chronic. Chronic hepatitis can lead to complications such as cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) & liver failure. Early diagnosis and treatment of chronic hepatitis may prevent these complications.