World Hepatitis Day 2022: All you need to know about symptoms and treatment

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The Indian Society for Clinical Research (ISCR) in a 2016 report said that Hepatitis C, a contagious liver infection, affects about 12 million people in the country

Representational image. News18

Hepatitis is liver damage caused by a viral infection. Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E are different from each other. Hepatitis A and E happen because of contaminated food and water, while Hepatitis B and C viruses are caused by coming in contact with infected blood. Hepatitis B, in addition, can get transmitted sexually or gets even passed on from mother to her child.

World Hepatitis Day is celebrated annually on 28 July to honour the birth of Baruch Blumberg, the Noble Laureate who discovered the Hepatitis B virus.

Types of Hepatitis

Viral hepatitis, be it Type A, B, C, D and E, refer to a group of diseases that affect the liver. According to the WHO, both hepatitis B and C are among the most common cause of deaths, with 1.3 million lives lost to it each year. Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viral hepatitis continues to take a toll on thousands of lives every day.

The Indian Society for Clinical Research (ISCR) in a 2016 report said that Hepatitis C, a contagious liver infection, affects about 12 million people in the country.

What are the symptoms?

If you are suffering from a chronic form of hepatitis, like hepatitis B and C, you may not get the  symptoms until it negatively affects your liver function. However, people with acute hepatitis may show the symptoms shortly after they catch the hepatitis virus. Common symptoms include fatigue, dark urine, flu-like symptoms, abdominal pain, pale stool, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, yellow skin and eyes that may be because of jaundice.

Treatment

Once diagnosed, the treatment depends upon whether the infection is acute or chronic. Hepatitis B and C, although chronic in nature, have treatment in the form of antivirals. Patients with chronic hepatitis B and C need regular monitoring and evaluation for liver cancer. The CDC recommends the Hepatitis B vaccine to all newborns. The vaccine should also be taken by those adults who have high chances of contracting Hepatitis B, and is an extremely effective way to prevent it. Hepatitis C can now be treated with antiviral medications.



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