One Third Of World Population Infected With Hepatitis
July 27, 2011 by staff
One Third Of World Population Infected With Hepatitis, Millions of people now have hepatitis infections, but do not know, according to World Health Organization on the eve of the first United Nations World Hepatitis. More than 2 million people – or about one third of the world’s population - are infected with a form of liver disease, which kills about a million people a year. Hepatitis is a “staggering toll” on health systems, WHO Steven Wiersma hepatitis specialist told a news conference this week, and is the leading cause of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.
And yet most infected persons are unaware that they, unknowingly, may be that transmission to others.
“This is a chronic disease throughout the world, but unfortunately there is very little awareness, even among health policy-makers, its extension,” said Wiersma.
Although there are actually five types of hepatitis, hepatitis B accounts for most cases worldwide. It is transmitted in much the same way that HIV is transmitted – through contact with infected blood or other bodily fluids – and yet it is 50 to 100 times more infectious, making it easier to catch.
About 90 percent of healthy adults who become infected with hepatitis B can recover and be completely free of the virus. But the prospect of infected children is not as bright.
About 25 percent of those infected with hepatitis B as a child’s later going to die, either from liver cancer or cirrhosis of the liver caused by infection.
Hepatitis A is caused by a virus different, but related, is transmitted by fecal-oral route through ingestion of food or drink contaminated by feces of an infected person. The disease is linked to poor sanitation and epidemics are common in many areas of the world.
Hepatitis C is spread through infected blood can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, chronic lifelong damage than harm the liver.
Hepatitis D and E are less common forms are almost nonexistent in the developed world, but are related to lack of sanitation in less developed areas.
The World Hepatitis Alliance, a nongovernmental organization, has set July 28 as Hepatitis Awareness Day since 2008. The WHO’s governing body voted last year to join efforts with a program in the world of advertising campaigns and social media to help raise awareness and encourage vaccination.
Existing effective vaccines that can prevent infection with hepatitis A and B. A vaccine for hepatitis E had been developed but not widely available. There is no vaccine for HCV and D.
About 180 of whose 193 member states, including Canada, which now include hepatitis B vaccine in childhood immunization programs. But much remains to be done to prevent or control disease, even in Canada.
Dr. Mel Krajden, Co-Medical Director of Prevention Services Clinic BC Centre for Disease Control says the hepatitis B vaccination programs have been effective in reducing the number of new infections, but aid continues necessary for those who already have the disease.
“For those who are already infected with hepatitis B, there is still a need for diagnosis and treatment, which can control infection and improve outcomes,” he said in a press release BCCDC.
“Although there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C, new antiviral drugs bring hope to cure the majority of people in the coming years.”
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