28th July is observed as the World Hepatitis Day and research says that more than 52 million Indians are infected with viral hepatitis. And so WHO has recognized viral hepatitis as a threatening health problem in India.
Hepatitis basically means the inflammation of the liver which eventually leads to fibrosis then cirrhosis and finally to liver cancer. And so hepatitis is referred to as a silent killer.
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Types of Hepatitis viruses
There are five types of hepatitis viruses namely- A, B, C, D and E. And among these Hepatitis C is said to affect more than 12 million people in India. Also Hepatitis C, D and E do not have any cure yet. And even if there is, then 95% of the people suffering from this chronic disease do not know that they are infected with hepatitis and hardly 1% of them have access to proper treatment. All of these hepatitis are highly contagious and go till the extent of taking the life of the affected.
Hepatitis is a disease which hardly shows any symptoms. But some of the common symptoms for Hepatitis are high fever and fatigue, loss of appetite, dark urine, vomiting, nausea, yellow skin and eyes, and abdominal pain.
How is it transmitted?
Hepatitis B, C and D are caused out of parental contact with body fluids of an infected person. And Hepatitis A and E is caused due to the consumption of contaminated food and water. Hepatitis B is transmitted from the mother to the child, or during sexual contact as well.
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The best way to stay away from hepatitis is by taking certain preventive measures. This would include blood transfusions, vaccinations. This would reduce the chance of hepatitis B and C. Some of the other preventive measures such as basis hygiene (not to share brushes, razors, nail clippers, needles, and having clean food and water) would reduce the chances of hepatitis A and E.