Via The Times of India: ‘Hepatitis more lethal than HIV, malaria & dengue’. Excerpt:
NEW DELHI: Hepatitis, which causes inflammation of liver, kills more people in India than HIV/AIDS, malaria and dengue combined, WHO representative to India Nata Menabde said on Saturday, which was World Hepatitis Day. She said mass awareness, universal guidelines for immunization and hygienic handling of food and water can reduce the liver disease burden substantially.
Menabde was speaking at the inauguration of the 'Health Liver' campaign by Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), India's first NABH accredited super specialty institute. Delhi health minister AK Walia and K Srinath Reddy, director of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), among others, were present on the occasion.
Menabde said there are five main hepatitis viruses, types A, B, C, D and E, of which B and C are most lethal as they can lead to liver cirrhosis and cancer. She added, "About six lakh [600,000] people die every year due to the acute or chronic consequences of hepatitis B, nearly 100 times more than HIV/AIDS."
Walia said that both hepatitis B and C spread through contact with the blood of an infected person. It can be through transfusion of infected blood, sharing of contaminated needles or injection material. Hepatitis B can also be transmitted from mother to child.
"To check the spread of the disease through blood transfusion, we are going to introduce Nucleic Acid Test ( NAT) to ensure immediate and accurate screening of infectious diseases such as hepatitis and HIV in donated blood," Walia said.
He added that Delhi is among the first few states to have introduced vaccination for hepatitis B in the universal immunization programme. Hepatitis A and E, the commonest forms of viral hepatitis, spread mainly through contaminated food or water. The state health minister said that they are taking all measures to ensure clean drinking water facility to all citizens.