New Delhi [India], Aug 31 (ANI/Mediawire): The Times of India, in association with Dr Reddy's Laboratories, has launched 'Let's End Hepatitis' campaign to raise awareness about the disease.
The grave impact of Hepatitis is known to a few. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared viral Hepatitis in India as a major cause for healthcare burden. It is believed to be as life-threatening as the 'big three' transmittable diseases which are AIDS/HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
Hepatitis is a viral infection that causes inflammation to the liver and some viruses can subsequently prove to be fatal. Globally, there are five viruses - A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis can last for a short duration (acute) or a longer duration (chronic). However, it's quite possible that the symptoms don't manifest themselves until quite late. Fever, fatigue, skin rashes and yellowing of eyes and nails (known as jaundice) are some common symptoms.
Around 300 million people in the world suffer from Hepatitis and a dangerously large majority has no clue about it. Asia-Pacific region is considered to be the epicentre of this epidemic. It is estimated that in South-East Asia alone, as many as 100 million people are presently living with Hepatitis B, and 30 million with Hepatitis C. For a country like India, these figures mean a heavy burden not only on social and economic status of the affected individual but also the healthcare system.
According to the latest reports, in India, 40 million people are chronically infected with Hepatitis B and six to 12 million have a chronic case of Hepatitis C. HAV is quite common amongst children, though HEV is the most significant cause of Hepatitis epidemic. HEV is attributed for most acute liver failures. There are three main reasons behind large number of infected people:
* The routine national immunisation programme counts Hepatitis vaccine as optional, so a lot of parents and doctors skip on recognising the lurking risks this disease carries.
* Secondly, a scary figure of 290 million people is living with Hepatitis but are unaware about its existence.
* Thirdly, in developing countries like India, poor sanitation, unsafe drinking water and improper disposal system increase the risk of infection.
To prevent Hepatitis A and B, vaccines are available. According to WHO, timely vaccination for both viruses can offer near life-long immunity. In an effort to create awareness, The Times of India, in collaboration with Dr Reddy's Laboratories, has commenced a campaign - 'Let's End Hepatitis' - on the occasion of World Hepatitis Day, July 28.
This initiative is in accordance with WHO's efforts to find the 'missing millions' who are unaware about the disease they are carrying and bring to them the appropriate care. 'Let's End Hepatitis' has been launched to generate awareness and motivate people to act on the preventive measures. Vaccines for both Hepatitis A and B are available; so ensure that you speak to your doctor and protect your family from any future risks. Even if your child missed out on the vaccine at birth, contact your pediatrician now to get the vaccine done.
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