World Hepatitis Day is commemorated on 28th July Every year to raise awareness of viral hepatitis, a liver inflammatory disease that causes a series of health problems, including liver cancer. This year’s theme is “Hepatitis-free future.” It is therefore, more essential to know the nature, prevention and treatment of these viral diseases.
Viral hepatitis remains a big public health challenge, not only in Nigeria but worldwide. Although half of the world ‘s population has been exposed to various types of hepatotropic viruses, the disease distribution often varies according to the geographical location.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) “325 million people worldwide live with viral hepatitis B and C in which a total of 9 million people die each year from infection with the hepatitis B virus’. Hepatitis is an infection of the liver which can frequently lead to a variety of health complications and death.
Cause of Hepatitis
- Hepatitis A and E are mainly caused by the intake of contaminated food and water.
- Hepatitis B, C and D usually occur after contact with infected blood and body fluids.
Sign and Symptoms
Symptoms of acute viral hepatitis include flu-like symptoms, fever, fatigue, dark urine, vomiting, and jaundice (yellow discolouration of the skin and eyes). However, infection with these viruses (hepatitis) may occur with minimal symptoms or may even go unnoticed.
Screening and early detection
As a sign and symptom of hepatitis often become undetected especially in the early stages, Screening and early detection will be a key to the successful elimination of these viruses before irreversible damage to the liver occurs. Without finding out about undiagnosed patients in the silent phase and linking them to care, millions will continue to suffer and lives will continue to be lost.
Some precaution to take against Hepatitis
- Avoid needles sharing or any other personal items like razors, and toothbrushes
- Avoiding unprotected sex
- Getting tested regularly for the virus.
- Avoid eating contaminated food and drinks
- Avoid roadside food vending, especially fruit juices, milkshakes.
- Washing hands properly before and after preparing and eating food
- Barber shops, Beauty salon – sharing of razor blades, metal scraper used to remove blackheads and whiteheads from facial skin can act as a source of infection if not disposable or if not properly sterilized.
In conclusion, educating the people is the step forward to find the millions who are suffering and to ensure that they receive adequate treatment and care. Only then we can significantly reduce the number of patients who will suffer from these diseases and eradicate the risk of the virus in due time and fulfill the vision of “Hepatitis-free future.”
Abubakar Mukhtar BPharm, MSc. (In view)
Disclaimer: Personal view, not for medical consumption.