ISLAMABAD: (APP) Health experts on Wednesday said that 150,000 people die in Pakistan every year due to complications from hepatitis B and C and 90 per cent of healthy people recover from hepatitis B in six months.
Health experts said this while addressing a seminar at Quaid-e-Azam International Hospital (QIH) in connection with World Hepatitis Day being observed on July 28 to create awareness among the masses about the chronic disease.
They said that viral hepatitis causes acute and chronic liver diseases and kills close to 1.4 million people every years.
They said the day observed every year in the world to create an awareness among the masses about risk, prevention and mode of transmission of hepatitis. This year the theme of the world Hepatitis Day is "Eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030".
Addressing the seminar , Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist of QIH Brig (R) Professor Dr. Muhammad Iqbal said that hepatitis is a condition which causes the inflammation of the liver.
He said there are five types of hepatitis, categorized from Hepatitis A to E. Hepatitis C is the most dangerous causing one million deaths around the world and the ninth leading cause of death.
He highlighted that high risk groups are drug users, healthcare workers, newborns to hepatitis B infected mothers, household contacts of infected people, persons who frequently use blood or blood products and those having multiple sexual partners and with high-risk sexual behavior.
Elderly people and HIV infected persons are also at greater risk of getting hepatitis, he added.
Dr. Muhammad Iqbal said two main types of hepatitis prevail in the country which are A and E that usually spread through contaminated water and food, while B and C spread through contact with blood of an infected person and unsafe injection using contaminated syringes.
One cannot get infected with hepatitis B or C by shaking hands, coughing or sneezing, using the same toilet, through breast milk, food or water, sharing food or drinks, he added.
He said symptoms of viral hepatitis are fatigue, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, jaundice, abdominal pain, dark urine, bright stools, depression and joint pains.
He said that both hepatitis B and C are silent viruses and as many people feel no symptoms, one could remain infected for years without diagnosis.
He said, "If left untreated, both the hepatitis B and C viruses can lead to liver cirrhosis, accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, bleeding, coma, liver failure and finally death.
Chief Executive Officer of Quaid-e-Azam International Hospital and Consultant Infection Diseases Dr. Shaukat Ali Bangash stressed on the use of boiled water and habit of hand washing after eating, using washroom and changing diapers as an important preventive measure which reduces the risk of hepatitis.
Dr Bangash said that people should emphasize on the use of new syringes at clinics, razor blades at barber shops, and sterilized dental and surgical equipment in case of procedures. Sterilization should also be verified for instruments used during pedicure and manicure.
He said before blood transfusion, people should ensure blood screening to check hepatitis B and C .