Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Every 1 out of 12 people across the world affected by hepatitis

Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 4:32 PM
Hepatitis C is still commonest cause of liver damage
Ludhiana: July 28th 2016: (Punjab Screen Bureau):
The Department of Gastroenterology at SPS Hospitals organized a week long free screening camp on the occasion of “World Hepatitis Day”. More than 600 people were screened during this activity.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr.Nirmaljeet Singh Malhi, Senior Consultant & Head, Department of Gastroenterology said, “The theme for the World Hepatitis Day 2016 is “Know Hepatitis - Act now”. With every 1 out of 12 people across the world affected by hepatitis, it should not be ignored. Hepatitis C is the major concern for us.  Hepatitis C remains asymptomatic in initial stages in majority of the patients. Moreover untreated chronic hepatitis C increases the risk of liver damage and liver cancer. India though has a low to moderate prevalence of HCV infection but accounts for a significant share of HCV infection worldwide due to its large population. The Punjab state needs an exclusive mention as HCV infection has been reported to be much higher when compared to many other states. Most of the Punjabis are unaware of their hepatitis C status due to lack of symptoms in the early phase. Importantly, still there is no vaccine against hepatitis C, so prevention by adopting universal precautions and regular screening to detect early cases remains the key.”
Dr Vikramjeet S Sandhu from Gastroenterology added that sharing of infected needles/syringes by drug addicts is the major source of continued HCV transmission in the state now. Tattooing and body piercing, sharing razors and toothbrushes, recipient of unscreened blood /blood products , hemodialysis patients and HIV infected persons are at increased risk of getting infected by hepatitis C.
Dr Amit Soni , Gastroenterologist at SPS hospitals further disclosed that hepatitis C is still one of the commonest cause of liver damage and liver cancer in Punjab.    Dr Amit announced that on the occasion of World Hepatitis Day , all the people who have been found to be hepatitis C positive in week long screening will be invited , educated and counseled for free. According to Dr Malhi “Innovation in the field of Hepatitis C treatment has been swift and incredible. Interferon (Injection) free treatment has been available in India since March 2015. The new all oral antiviral treatment  is not just very safe , successful (> 95%cure)  and acceptable to patients, but they have further extended the patient groups in whom these can be used.”
Dr Ubaid , Medical Superintendent, revealed that Gastroenterology department under the leadership of Dr Malhi has been actively involved in organizing frequent free hepatitis screening camps and awareness lectures in Ludhiana and surrounding regions. Such small steps if taken by all the responsible health professionals are bound to bring big change in Punjab.

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