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Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd. - World Hepatitis Day, 28th July 2013

By Expert Author: Anand Kumar

Hepatitis kills approximately 1 million people every year across the globe. It is closer to everyone than they think it to be with approximately 500 million of us being infected to it. World Hepatitis Day is annual celebrated to provide focus on patient groups and people living with hepatitis B and C. There is a need to raise awareness and influence change in disease prevention and access to testing and treatment of more than 500 million people across the globe. Hepatitis doesn't have the level of awareness, nor political priority like other communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria which makes hepatitis a concern for the world.

Appallingly 500 million people across the globe are living with either chronic hepatitis B or C. While this is far higher than the prevalence of HIV or any cancer, awareness is inexplicably low and the majority of those infected are unaware. The world estimates approximately 1.4 million cases of hepatitis A every year, approximately 240 million people live with chronic HBV infection and approximately 150 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis C virus.

Hepatitis A is a viral liver disease which causes mild to severe illness and is transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and water, or through direct contact with an infectious person. Hepatitis A is also associated with lack of safe water and poor sanitation. Improved sanitation and the vaccination of Hepatitis A are the two most effective means to combat this epidemic. The virus spreads from one person to another when an uninfected person ingests food or water that is contaminated with faeces of an infected person. Unlike hepatitis B and C, hepatitis A infection does not cause chronic liver disease and is rarely fatal, but it can cause debilitating symptoms and fulminant hepatitis (acute liver failure), which is associated with high mortality. The epidemic in Shangai in 1988 that affected 300 thousand people can erupt explosively and lead to significant economic and social consequences.

Hepatitis B attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease. Approximately 2 billion people across the world have been infected by this deadly virus and about 600 thousand die every year due to consequences of hepatitis B. It is generally transmitted through contact with blood or other body fluids of an infected person. A vaccine against hepatitis B has been available since 1982. Hepatitis B vaccine is 95% effective in preventing infection and its chronic consequences, and was the first vaccine against a major human cancer.

Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by hepatitis C virus and causes mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious lifelong condition that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer. The disease spreads when blood from an infected person enters the body of a susceptible person. Every year, 34 million people are infected with the hepatitis C virus. About 150 million people are chronically infected and at risk of developing liver cirrhosis and/or liver cancer. More than 350 000 people die from hepatitis C-related liver diseases every year.

This year on World Hepatitis Day, 28 July 2013, WHO and other partner agencies will focus on the fact that although the burden of disease caused by viral hepatitis is growing, it remains largely ignored or unknown to many policymakers, health workers and the public.

For more information visit: Innovative Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd.

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