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Insurance Article

Let's Fight for a World Free from Hepatitis

June 12 2017
Hepatitis virus

This World Hepatitis Day, know everything there is to know about the lethal hepatitis virus.

Hepatitis is one of the deadliest viruses in the world. According to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, 400 million people in the world are infected with chronic hepatitis B and C. Viral hepatitis was the cause of 1.45 million deaths in 2013.

In India, over 52 million people are infected with chronic hepatitis. Out of these, 40 million people are infected with hepatitis B and around 6 to 12 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis C. A staggering amount of 6,00,000 people die from hepatitis B virus in India every year.

What Is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis is an inflammatory condition of the liver. It is commonly caused by the hepatitis virus, but other causes are also responsible for this condition. These include infections, toxic substances such as drugs or alcohol, and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis. Hepatitis can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Hepatitis is a silent virus, which indicates why 95% of the affected people do not know they are infected with it. Symptoms such as jaundice, nausea, dark urine, fatigue, and abdominal pain are ignored by most, thus letting the virus go undetected.

Types of Hepatitis

There are five different types of hepatitis viruses, namely hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. These are responsible for the many deaths caused by this virus. Each type is transmitted by a different virus and has different symptoms.

  • Hepatitis A (HAV) – It is transmitted through consumption of water or food contaminated with faeces of people infected with hepatitis A. While hepatitis A is a mild infection, it can also be life-threatening. It is most common in areas with poor sanitation.

  • Hepatitis B (HBV) – It is transmitted through contact with infected blood, semen, and other fluids. It can also transmit through infected needles, from mother to baby during birth, injection drug use, and sexual contact. Around 350 million people in the world are infected with HBV.

  • Hepatitis C (HDV) – Hepatitis C is transmitted through HCV injected blood, injection drug use, and sexual contact. It can lead to acute or chronic illness. According to WHO, 71 million people worldwide are infected with this virus.

  • Hepatitis D (HDV) – Hepatitis D occurs only in people infected with hepatitis B. Because of the dual infection, it can lead to worse outcomes.

  • Hepatitis E (HEV) – It is transmitted through the consumption of water contaminated with the hepatitis E virus. It is more common in areas with poor sanitation and is the main cause of hepatitis

Prevention of Hepatitis

Since hepatitis is one of the deadliest viruses, it is necessary to take preventive measures and fight against it. Safe vaccines are available for hepatitis A, B, and E, and the HBV vaccine provides protection against the hepatitis D virus. There are no vaccines available for hepatitis C.

Other precautions to take against hepatitis is to maintain good hygiene and food safety. Hepatitis B, C, and D can be prevented by reducing the risk of contact to infected blood, practicing safe sex, and sterilised needles. In addition, it is recommended to abstain from alcohol, medicines, and chemicals.

Hepatitis is prevalent in developing as well as developed countries. It is always better to get yourself a comprehensive health insurance policy, which will provide you with financial assistance in the future.

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