NewZNew (S A S Nagar) : Hepatitis B & C are amongst the commonest causes of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer and form a significant burden of liver disease in India. Addressing the patient attendants during a free talk organized on Thursday to mark World Hepatitis Day, Dr Arvind Sahni (Director – Gastroenterology), Fortis Hospital Mohali, said the theme of WHO for this year’s Hepatitis Day was ‘No Hep’, aiming to eliminate Hepatitis B & C by 2030. Going by the same theme, Fortis Mohali did over 500 free screenings for Hep B & C, whereby attendants, patients, staff and others got tested at the hospital on Thursday.
Dr Sahni said, “India has over 35 million people infected with Hepatitis B and over 40 million people infected with Hepatitis C. Hepatitis B & C are known as silent killers and cause a hidden epidemic
The annual death rate due to Hepatitis C alone is approximately 1,00,000.”
He added that rapid strides had been made in the field of Hepatitis C taking the cure rate to over 95%.
As the signs and symptoms of liver disease due to Hepatitis B & C appear late, only a blood test is a definite way of detecting these viruses. “That’s why we offered free testing for Hep B & C today in the IPD Lobby, so that family members of patients and our staff could benefit from this activity,” Dr Sahni added.
While Hepatitis B can be prevented by three doses of Hepatitis B Vaccine, there is no Vaccine against Hepatitis C.
The doctor advised those gathered about other preventive measures, including encouraging voluntary blood donation, proper testing of these viruses in certified blood banks, avoiding abuse of intravenous drugs, avoid tattooing, practising safe sex, using sterilized needles and syringes and avoid taking any blood or blood products that have not been tested for these viruses.