Sat, Feb 25, 2017 | updated 10:22 AM IST

Hepatitis: The health threat we are ignoring

Updated: Jul 28, 2016 18:10 IST

New Delhi, Jul 28 (ANI): With 28 July being observed as World Hepatitis Day, here are some things that you should know about the "silent killer" disease.

About one million Indians are at risk of acquiring the hepatitis B infection and about 10,000 die from the hepatitis B virus (HBV) every year. This is a vast number, especially considering the fact that it is a vaccine-preventable disease.

According to Zoya Brar, founder and CEO of Core Diagnostics, "This shows that there is a 'KAP (Knowledge/ Attitude/ Practice)-gap' for hepatitis B in our country. Unfortunately, the disease is plagued with a lot of misconceptions and stigma. Hepatitis B is spread when blood, semen, or other body fluids infected with the HBV enter the body of a person who is not infected."

She added, "People can become infected at birth (spread from an infected mother to her baby during birth), sex with an infected partner, sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment, and exposure to blood from needle sticks injuries or other sharp instruments."

Brar noted that if a person, who has been exposed to HBV, gets the Hepatitis B vaccine and/or a shot called 'HBIG' (Hepatitis B immune globulin) within 24 hours, the infection may be prevented. Once injected, one can develop antibodies that protect him/her from the virus for life.

"Since many people with Hepatitis B do not have symptoms, doctors diagnose the disease by one or more blood tests. These tests look for the presence of antibodies or antigens. There are many different blood tests available to diagnose HBV infection. The most popular and commonly performed test is the test for the Australia antigen or HBsAg. This test has a high sensitivity and specificity for detection of the HBV and is supplemented by other tests like HBcAg, HBeAg, HBV-DNA, and liver function tests. There is no medication available to treat acute hepatitis B," she said.

The hepatitis B and C viruses are blood-borne infections that are spread through parenteral route. In India, we should be worried, because 3-6 billion injections are given each year, of which two-thirds are unsafely administered. This makes a large part of the population vulnerable to viruses transmitted through the blood.

These silent killers live inside a body for decades, without showing any symptoms. When symptoms finally appear, they signal that the liver itself has been affected, making treatment difficult. Another reason doctors are worried about the spread is because hepatitis B is 50-100 times more infectious than HIV and hepatitis C is 10 times more infectious. Yet, while people are by and large aware of HIV, there is little awareness about hepatitis.

Dr Siddharth Srivastava, associate professor of gastroenterology in GB Pant Hospital, Delhi, said, "The irony is that hepatitis B has a vaccine, but no cure, while hepatitis C has no vaccine, but does have a cure. Laid down WHO safe injection protocols should be followed by healthcare practitioners. However, patients too need to be vigilant and know of the safe injection practices, like the use of sterile, single-use, reuse prevention syringes."

He added, "Staff should wash their hands before administering the injection, and they should clean the area of the injection adequately. They should definitely not be touching the injection with their hands. This year's call for the eradication of hepatitis by 2030 can be partially achieved if these are followed."

Varun Khanna, managing director at BD-India, said, "Hepatitis is 50-100 times more infectious than HIV and we recognize the fact that Hepatitis is a growing problem. Alarming statistics have shown that 40 percent of the new Hepatitis B and C cases are due to unsafe injection practices. BD is engaged in several projects to improve clinical practices including safe injections and blood collection practices. It is imperative to spread awareness among medical practitioners, patients and the public at large about the dangers of unsafe injection practices in spreading this easily preventable disease." (ANI)

Dietary prebiotics improve sleep: Study

Updated: Feb 25, 2017 07:20 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 25 (ANI): Health benefits of probiotics- the "good bacteria" found in fermented foods and dietary supplements- is known to almost all.

Full Story >>

Too much sugar may causes Alzheimer's

Updated: Feb 24, 2017 06:13 IST

London [UK], Feb. 24 (ANI): A diet, high in sugar, could lead to Alzheimers, as a study finds a link between sugar and the brain disease.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 23 (ANI): A study was conducted in 19 centers over a period of six months to understand the different types of constipation and the causes behind them. One of the key highlights has been that constipation is highly prevalent in cities as compared to the rural areas.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb 23. (ANI): Never neglect your kid, if you do not want to subject him to mental health issues!

Full Story >>

Now, you can cure insomnia with placebo: Study

Updated: Feb 23, 2017 06:27 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 23 (ANI): Briton researchers have found a simple placebo may really work well to cure insomnia.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 23 (ANI): Beware! US researchers warned that taking drugs to reduce gastric acid for prolonged periods may lead to serious kidney problems, including kidney failure.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 22 (ANI): In rarest of its kind, a paediatric surgery performed by doctors at a city-based hospital gave a new lease of life to a newborn, suffering from a life-threatening defect of the alimentary canal.

Full Story >>

Beware! Zika can be a reason for miscarriage

Updated: Feb 22, 2017 14:18 IST

Washington D.C. (USA), Feb. 22 (ANI): Beware to-be mothers! According to a recent study, Zika virus could lead to a greater risk of miscarriage in the early stage of pregnancy.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. (USA), Feb. 22 (ANI): Women with a rare type of epithelial ovarian or peritoneum cancer, can now take sigh of relief.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 22 (ANI): Now don't blame those chips and chocolates for you childs extra pounds, as a study says around 35-40 percent of a child's is inherited from their parents.

Full Story >>

Drinking too much may age arteries over time!

Updated: Feb 22, 2017 06:03 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 22 (ANI): Excessive boozing over the years might age arteries prematurely, especially in men, putting them at an increased risk for heart disease.

Full Story >>

Chronic knee pain may be treated online

Updated: Feb 21, 2017 06:41 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 21 (ANI): A study has found out that an online intervention, combining home exercise and pain-coping skills training, provided substantial clinical benefits for patients suffering from chronic knee pain.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 21 (ANI): Only exercise is not enough to maintain that figure, which is an after effect of much toil and sweat!

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb. 20 (ANI): With rising life expectancy, increasingly sedentary lifestyles and surge in incidence of obesity, India is also witnessing a resultant rise in orthopedic problems as a natural corollary.

Full Story >>

Children inherit obesity from parents: Study

Updated: Feb 20, 2017 14:54 IST

Washington D.C. (USA), Feb. 20 (ANI): A study reveals that 35-40 percent of a child's 'Body Mass Index' - how fat or thin they are - is inherited from their parents.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb 20. (ANI): Good news for all those lazy-headed not-really-a-cleanliness-freak out there! Scientists have found out that the obsession with hygiene could even be turning some beneficial bacteria found in the human gut into "endangered species".

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Feb 20. (ANI): In order to persuade someone to quit smoking, it is the 'emotions' that need to be triggered rather than inciting fear in an individual.

Full Story >>

No difference between good or bad diet: Study

Updated: Feb 20, 2017 05:54 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb 20. (ANI): Ever faced a choice between Brown and white bread?

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 19 (ANI): To boost sustainability of livestock production, a study finds that gene editing - one of the newest and most promising tools of biotechnology - enables animal breeders to make beneficial genetic changes, without bringing along unwanted genetic changes.

Full Story >>

People with ADHD may have smaller brain volume

Updated: Feb 19, 2017 07:09 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb 19. (ANI): In a latest study it has been found out that people diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have smaller brain volume than those without the disorder.

Full Story >>