HEPATITIS: WHO Enlightens People On How To Prevent Themselves From The Deadly Viral Infection

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.

Worried by the spate of reported cases of hepatitis globally, World Health Organization, WHO, has intensified awareness campaign aimed at enlightening people on how to prevent themselves from the deadly viral infection.

The latest of this campaign was a comprehensive tips released by the apex health institution on Monday. According to the health organisation, hepatitis can be spread by blood, semen and other body fluids.

It highlighted the category of people at the risk of this preventable disease to include those who have undergone medical or dental treatment with unsterilised instrument and those who received a blood transfusion in a country that does not test for hepatitis among others.

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The organization suggested six ways in which people can prevent themselves and urged them to:

“Talk to your health provider about the hepatitis B vaccine.

“Never share needles, razor or toothbrushes.

“If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about how to prevent transmission to your baby.

“Use only sterilise tattoo and piercing instruments.

“Use condom correctly and consistently.

“Where possible, choose oral medications instead of injections.

Health experts have repeatedly said that hepatitis particularly type B is more infectious than HIV virus. WHO adds:

“Most people do not experience any symptoms when newly infected. However, some people have acute illness with symptoms that last several weeks, including yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.”

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Available data obtained from the UN health organization indicated that, in 2015 alone, hepatitis B had resulted in an estimated 887 000 deaths, mostly from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, that is primary liver cancer.

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