1.4 million people die from the ailment annually

Free hepatitis testing in downtown PG

National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme to be launched today

"Viral hepatitis is one of the leading causes of death globally, accounting for 1.34 million deaths per year, which is more than that caused by HIV/AIDS, malaria or tuberculosis. Though Hepatitis C can be treated and cured, many people with Hepatitis C have no symptoms, so it's crucial to get tested and know your status", said Stephane Howze, Vice President of Member Experience at Amida Care.

Hepatitis A is a viral disease of the liver and is spread from person to person by the "fecal-oral" route, often by inadequate handwashing after using the toilet or changing diapers.

WHO and partners are calling on countries to urgently increase hepatitis testing and treatment services in order to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.

The minister identified the adequate treatment of Hepatitis B and C as a way out in preventing the development of major life- threatening chronic liver diseases like cirrhosis and liver cancer. Further, Hepatitis E virus was the most found laboratory diagnosed viral hepatitis in India, followed by Hepatitis A virus, the report noted. Most of the times, people ignore the symptoms and receive treatment in the later stages of the infection.

It is estimated that there are 214,000 people living with hepatitis C in the United Kingdom, with approximately half of these not diagnosed. Nearly 60% of liver cancer cases arise out of late detection and treatment of the infection.

With deaths from opioids tripling in the county over the last five years, state officials said it's no surprise that hepatitis C is on the rise as well.

Screening for HCV among blood donors has reduced the risk of acquiring HCV from blood products by half to two thirds. "If left untreated, hepatitis C can cause scarring of the liver, which slows down blood flow that's crucial for liver function". Past themes included "Get tested" and "This is hepatitis".

World Hepatitis Day is led by the World Health Organization alongside World Hepatitis Alliance and takes place every year on 28 July to raise global awareness of hepatitis.

"Many people don't know how or when they were infected, and you can live decades without symptoms", says Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's Michael Curry, MD, Section Chief, Hepatology.

According to a survey conducted by the Hepatology Society, about 10 million people in Bangladesh are infected with either hepatitis B or C.

As with HBV, HCV is spread through direct exposure to blood or bodily fluids. This, he said, would reduce the burden on the tertiary health facilities as people will not go there directly when they already have complications. "Our new recommendations should pave the way for everybody with hepatitis C to access testing and curative treatment now". In India, viral hepatitis remains a major public health challenge with intermediate to high endemicity for Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B virus infection is a very important cause of viral hepatitis, 3-5 per cent of Indian population is carrier for hepatitis B infection.

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