Tattoo Puts You At Big Risk Of Contracting Hepatitis – Medical Expert

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver tissue. The condition can be self-limiting or can progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer. Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis in the world but other infections, toxic substances (e.g. alcohol, certain drugs), and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis.

Some people have no symptoms whereas others develop yellow discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes, poor appetite, vomiting, tiredness, abdominal pain, or diarrhea.

Hepatitis may be temporary (acute) or long term (chronic) depending on whether it lasts for less than or more than six months. Acute hepatitis can sometimes resolve on its own, progress to chronic hepatitis, or rarely result in acute liver failure.

Dr Adenike Enikuomehin, a consultant endocrinologist at the Akure annex of the University of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital, Ondo, has warned that careless body piercing for tattoo puts people at risk of contracting Hepatitis.

Dr. Enikuomehin, in a statement, said there must be more enlightenment on why people should be careful of the kind of sharp objects they use for incisions. The consultant endocrinologist said:

“Sharing of sharp objects is now common these days, especially with the advent and acceptability of tattoos and scarification marks. People appear to be less bothered whether the sharp objects are sterilised before being used on them. This puts them at the risk of contracting hepatitis.”

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The medical practitioner said one of the ways people contracted chronic hepatitis was through sharing of unscreened blood or contact with sharp objects. She, however, said early diagnosis and treatment of the disease would help reduce the increasing incidence of liver problems and deaths.

The expert also called for more investment in diagnostic tests and medicines for treating hepatitis to save lives and reduce the costs of long-term care associated with liver cancer. She added:

“We can invest in eliminating hepatitis by going for screening to know one’s status and vaccinating a child at birth which is free. Government should also show more concern and care for the campaign against hepatitis.”

Also, a dental surgeon with the Ondo State Government, Dr. Folasade Akinwande, said this year’s world hepatitis day held on July 28 was another opportunity for stakeholders to raise the awareness on the need for regular screening for the viral disease.

According to the World Health Organisation, Nigeria has a high burden of viral hepatitis B and C at a prevalence rate of 11.2 per cent and 2.0 per cent, respectively.

A few days ago, the President of Rotary Club of Wuse Central, Abuja, Dr Mohammed Hassan, described hepatitis disease as a silent killer in Nigeria and other African countries.

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The doctor said this during an event organised by Rotary Club to mark the World Hepatitis Day in Abuja. The event tagged, ‘Hepatitis zero World eradication project’ also witnessed the testing, sensitisation and consultation on hepatitis-related issues in the community.

Speaking during the exercise, Dr Hassan said there was the need to raise the awareness in the community on the danger of hepatitis disease. He said,

“Hepatitis disease is a silent killer especially in Africa. It could be transmitted through body fluids like blood and also through multiple sexual partners. It is a virus that affects the liver; as you know, the liver is one of the most important functional organ in the human body, and once it is affected, the person is in great danger.

There is the need for people to know that it is preventable and it can be treated. We are raising the awareness that this test is for both children and adults, and it is important for the community to know their status.”

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