Everything about Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C

Headline : Hepatitis B and C major killers, but few know it

Details :

In News:

  • On the World Hepatitis Day, the Union health minister pledged to join a campaign initiated by the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) to create awareness about the disease.

Context of the topic:

  • In India, more people are dying of Hepatitis B and C than HIV, malaria and dengue combined and yet the awareness about the disease remains low.

 

In Focus: Hepatitis

What is Hepatitis?

  • Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver.
  • The condition can be self-limiting or can progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer.
  • Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis in the world but other infections, toxic substances (e.g. alcohol, certain drugs), and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis.

Note: Autoimmune hepatitis is a disease that occurs when your body makes antibodies against your liver tissue.

Types of Viral Hepatitis

  • 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.
  • These 5 types are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread.
  • In particular, types B and C are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.

Causes:

  • Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water.
  • Hepatitis B, C and D usually occur as a result of parenteral contact with infected body fluids.
    • Common modes of transmission for these viruses include receipt of contaminated blood or blood products, invasive medical procedures using contaminated equipment and for hepatitis B transmission from mother to baby at birth, from family member to child, and also by sexual contact.

Hepatitis A

  • Hepatitis A infections are in many cases mild, with most people making a full recovery and remaining immune from further Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) infections. However, HAV infections can also be severe and life threatening.
  • Most people in areas of the world with poor sanitation have been infected with this virus.
  • Transmission of the Virus:
    • Through consumption of contaminated water or food.
    • Certain sex practices can also spread Hepatitis A Virus (HAV).
  • Vaccination availability:
    • Safe and effective vaccines are available to prevent HAV.

Hepatitis B

  • Hepatitis B is a viral infection caused by Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease.
  • According to WHO, in 2015, 257 million people suffered from Hepatitis B infection (defined as Hepatitis B surface antigen positive).
  • Infections in India: India harbours 10-15% of the entire pool of Hepatitis B virus carriers in the world and 15-25% of these patients are likely to suffer from cirrhosis, scarring of the liver and liver cancer and likely to die prematurely.
  • Transmission of the Virus:
    • Exposure to infective blood, semen, and other body fluids.
    • From infected mother to infant at the time of birth or from family member to infant in early childhood.
  • Vaccination availability:
    • Safe and effective vaccines are available to prevent HBV.
    • All infants should get a shot as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. It, however, can be taken at any age

Hepatitis C

  • Transmission of the Virus (HCV) :
    • Through unsafe injection practices
    • Transfusion of unscreened blood and its products
    • Sexual practices that lead to exposure of blood of an infected individual
  • Vaccination availability:
    • There is no preventive vaccine for Hepatitis C, which is a major cause of liver cancer.

Hepatitis D

  • Transmission of the Virus:
    • The Hepatitis D Virus (HDV) infections occur only in those who are infected with HBV.
    • The dual infection of HDV and HBV can result in a more serious disease and worse outcome.
  • Vaccination availability:
    • Hepatitis B vaccines provide protection from HDV infection.

Hepatitis E

  • Hepatitis E Virus is a common cause of hepatitis outbreaks in developing parts of the world and is increasingly recognized as an important cause of disease in developed countries
  • Transmission of the Virus:
    • Consumption of contaminated water or food.
  • Vaccination availability:
    • Safe and effective vaccines to prevent HEV infection have been developed but are not widely available.

Hepatitis B and C: Major Risks

  • According to the global hepatitis  report,  2017  Hepatitis B and C, the two main types of the five different hepatitis infections (A,B,C,D,E), are responsible for 96% of overall viral hepatitis related mortality.

 

About National Viral Hepatitis Control Program

  • The National Viral Hepatitis Control Program has been launched by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, on the occasion of the World Hepatitis Day, 28th July 2018.
  • It is an integrated initiative for the prevention and control of viral hepatitis in India to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.3 which aims to ending viral hepatitis by 2030.
  • This is a comprehensive plan covering the entire gamut from Hepatitis A, B, C, D & E, and the whole range from prevention, detection and treatment to mapping treatment outcomes.

Aim

  • Combat hepatitis and achieve country wide elimination of Hepatitis C by 2030
  • Achieve significant reduction in the infected population, morbidity and mortality associated with Hepatitis B and C i.e. Cirrhosis and Hepato-cellular carcinoma (liver cancer)
  • Reduce the risk, morbidity and mortality due to Hepatitis A and E.

Key Objectives:

  • Enhance community awareness on hepatitis and lay stress on preventive measures among general population especially high-risk groups and in hotspots.
  • Provide early diagnosis and management of viral hepatitis at all levels of healthcare
  • Develop standard diagnostic and treatment protocols for management of viral hepatitis and its complications.
  • Strengthen the existing infrastructure facilitiescapacity building of existing human resources and raise additional human resources, where required, for providing comprehensive services for management of viral hepatitis and its complications in all districts of the country.
  • Develop linkages with the existing National programs towards awareness, prevention, diagnosis and treatment for viral hepatitis.
  • Develop a web-based “Viral Hepatitis Information and Management System” to maintain a registry of persons affected with viral hepatitis and its sequelae.

Components:

  • Preventive component
    • Awareness generation & behaviour change communication
    • Immunization of Hepatitis B (birth dose, high risk groups, health care workers)
    • Safety of blood and blood products
    • Injection safety, safe socio-cultural practices
    • Safe drinking water, hygiene and sanitary toilets
  • Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Monitoring and Evaluation, Surveillance and Research
  • Training and Capacity Building

 

Way ahead:

  • To make the programme successful and to ensure all persons suffering from Hepatitis B and C get treatment, there is need of more funds.
  • However, with the recent reductions in the costs of diagnosing and treating viral hepatitis, countries can scale up investments in eliminating the disease.
  • Also, mass campaigns are needed to create awareness about its vaccination.

 

Section : Social Issues
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s