The Health department should organise more camps at sub-divisional level and in remote villages to provide proper awareness to the general public to prevent Hepatitis spread, additional deputy commissioner, Tamenglong, Thangboi Gangte has said.
Gangte was speaking as chief guest at a World Hepatitis Day 2022 programme organised by the District Health Society, Tamenglong on Friday at Shekinuh Inn, Tamenglong district headquarters, under the theme ‘Bringing Care Closer to You - Hepatitis Can't Wait’.
District tuberculosis officer Dr Guidiathiu Kahmei and chief medical officer, Tamenglong Dr G Majachunglu attended as guest honour and president of the function respectively. Dr Kamei Kaguilan, medicine specialist, District Hospital Tamenglong, spoke as a main resource person.
In his keynote address, National Vector Hepatitis Control Programme district nodal Officer Dr Ningombam Homendro Singh stated that of the 1,630 blood screenings in Tamenglong, 46 persons were found to be positive for Hepatitis B and of the 1,634 person who underwent tests for Hepatitis C, 27 persons were found to be positive for Hepatitis C during the period January to July 2022.
In 2021, he mentioned that of the 2,921 samples collected, as many as 88 persons were detected with Hepatitis B positive, while of the 2,784 sample collection for hepatitis C, as many as 46 were Hepatitis C positive.
He informed that the Government of India has a target to eliminate Hepatitis from the country by 2030. In every second, one person dies of Hepatitis B in the world, he said.
Hepatitis B and C are dreadful diseases and medication should be given early as possible, he said, adding that testing and treatment is free of cost in Tamenglong district.
Dr Kaguilan highlighted that World Hepatitis Day is observed every each year on July 28 to raise awareness on Viral Hepatitis which causes inflammation of the liver and leads to severe diseases like liver cancer.
On the World Hepatitis Day, 2022, WHO highlighted the need for bringing hepatitis care closer to the primary health facilities and communities so that people have better access to treatment and care WHO aims to achieve hepatitis elimination by 2030, he said.
He said of the five types of viral Hepatitis A,B,C,D and E, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C is most problematic as it can cause chronic hepatitis and leads to liver cirrhosis and liver cancer If not properly treated.
In highly endemic areas, Hepatitis B is most commonly spread from mother to child at birth (prenatal transmission) or through horizontal transmission (exposure to infected blood).
Hepatitis B is also spread by needle injury, tattooing, piercing and exposure to infected blood and body fluids, such as saliva and menstrual, vaginal and seminal fluids, he said.
He further said that transmission of the virus may also occur through the reuse of contaminated needles and syringes or sharp objects either in healthcare settings, in the community or among persons who inject drugs.
He said that sexual transmission is more prevalent in unvaccinated persons with multiple sexual partners.
Hepatitis C can be passed from an infected mother to her baby and via sexual practices that lead to exposure to blood (for example, people with multiple sexual partners and among men who have sex with men); however, these modes of transmission are less common, he said.
Hepatitis C is not spread through breast milk, food, water or casual contact such as hugging, kissing and sharing food or drinks with an infected person.
Signs and symptoms of Viral Hepatitis are fever, fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, pale feces, joint pain and jaundice, he informed.
Although diagnosis is made through simple blood tests in laboratories, Hepatitis A and B have vaccines while Hepatitis C, D and E does not have vaccines yet, he said.
However, Hepatitis A will be resolved spontaneously with good hydration and proper nutrition, Dr Kaguilan said. Effective antiviral medication can control the progress of Hepatitis B, while Hepatitis C has effective DAA ( directly acting antiviral drug), he added.