Hepatitis, a disease which gets transmitted through contaminated blood or sexual intercourse affects some 400 million people worldwide, said Dr Wasim Jafri, Consultant Gastroenterologist at Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), while speaking to The News.
Contracted usually in early childhood, the risk of this disease is much higher in areas lacking in proper hygiene and health care facilities. Dr Jafri said that there can be many reasons for a person to be infected by Hepatitis but to what extent the disease cause damage can be understood by its type. “Hepatitis A is not chronic and can not cause any permanent damage, whereas Hepatitis B, C and D are lethal, which if not cured within six months can be fatal.
He says that re-used syringes and dental instruments can cause infection in the body which can later on take the form of Hep B, C and D. Most of these used syringes that should be disposed off instantly are picked up by rag pickers and injective drug users which further spread the disease. Apart from that, Dr Jafri pointed out the impediment regarding taking blood tests among people, because of which contamination in blood remains unknown. “Getting blood transfusion from any one who has not been checked
for blood infection can easily transmit the infection from person to another,”
says Dr Jafri and adds that it is high time that blood banks in Pakistan are regularised properly.
“Proper checking of the blood bags that are received by the blood banks is necessary and so is the regularisation at district level so that we know what a patient in Larkana or Dadu is going through.”
The symptoms include fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, weight loss and diarrhea and the urine can become dark in color. Speaking about the symptoms, he said that blood tests can help in identifying the type of Hepatitis and said that through that a doctor can easily identify the course of the treatment.
The disease is treated either through medicines or through injections which should be taken after consulting a doctor, he said. Though there is a fair chance of a relapse among the patients of Hepatitis, Dr Jafri says that through timely consultation and proper medication, the chances of a relapse can be controlled.
On the eve of World Hepatitis Day (May 19), workshops and seminars will be held all day long in various teaching hospitals and public forums to educate people about the infection and ways to prevent it.
Source: The News