New Delhi, July 28
Viral hepatitis despite being preventable and treatable kills more people than HIV and malaria, nearly one person every 30 seconds globally.
World hepatitis day
- 1 lakh Indians die annually from liver cirrhosis/liver cancer caused by HBV
- 42% of HCV and 33% of HBV infections caused by unsafe injection practices globally
- In India, N-E, tribal population and Punjab HCV hotspots due to higher injecting drug use
- HBV: Vaccine available
- HCV: Sofosbuvir tablet; no vaccine as of now
- Hep A, E: Mostly self-limiting
An estimated 6 crore people live with chronic hepatitis B (HBV) and about 1.05 crore with chronic hepatitis C (HCV) in the South East Asian Region alone with the World Health Organisation on Thursday — World Hepatitis Day – asking nations to “bring hepatitis care closer to people”.
India rolled out the national hepatitis control plan in 2019. The WHO estimates that India’s national prevalence of HBV is 4 per cent of the population and that of HCV 1.2 per cent. Experts say around 4 crore Indians are living with chronic HBV and 1.2 crore with chronic HCV viruses, representing numbers that make the HIV epidemic look small.
The national plan pledges to prioritise HBV vaccine administration at birth and address HCV by screening the population and making treatments available for free.
Government data suggest over 10 lakh Indians die annually from liver diseases caused by hepatitis C and B and a lakh of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer caused by hepatitis B alone.
“Among all carriers of HBV and HCV, 20-30 per cent will annually develop liver cirrhosis. Of these, 3 per cent will annually get liver cancers progressing to death,” leading hepatologist SK Sarin says.
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