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Hepatitis Virus Infection: The Current Scenario in India

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  • Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can progress to cirrhosis or liver cancer
  • Hepatitis C infection more common in North India, finds an analysis
  • Hepatitis E Virus and Hepatitis A Virus were common in young adult age group of 16 to 30 years

Hepatitis Virus Infection: The Current Scenario in India

Hepatitis C Virus infection is most common in the Northern states of India, according to an analysis done by SRL Diagnostics on Viral Hepatitis A,B, C and E. Water-borne hepatitis E infection was found to be the most common laboratory diagnosed viral hepatitis in India. The findings are based on more than 8 lakh samples received for hepatitis testing at the SRL labs between January 2014 and May 2017.

Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection
HCV is a blood-borne infection that can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis. The modes of HCV infection are through exposure to small quantities of blood, which may happen through unsafe injection practices, unsafe healthcare, drug use, transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products and sexual contact with an infected person.


HCV infection could be severe or mild, lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. About 80 to 85% of the individuals with chronic HCV require extended lifelong drug therapy.

The prevalence of HCV is estimated at 1% with 71 million of HCV infected adults. Most of the people who are chronically infected with HCV are likely to develop cirrhosis or liver cancer. About 399,000 people die each year from HCV, mostly from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.

Findings of SRL Analysis
  • All the four types of viral hepatitis (A,B,C and E) are more common in young age groups of 16 to 30 years and 31 to 45 years
  • Hepatitis E Virus and Hepatitis A Virus were common in young adult age group of 16 to 30 years
  • Hepatitis C Virus was more common in the middle age to elderly age groups of 46-60 and 61-85 years
  • Hepatitis B Virus infection was seen across all the age groups
Dr. Avinash Phadke, President Technology & Mentor (Clinical Pathology) from SRL Diagnostics said, "Despite around 400 million people affected globally, hepatitis has largely been ignored as a health and development priority until recently. Four common types of viral hepatitis i.e. A, B, C, E have different modes of transmission, affecting different populations and resulting in different health outcomes."

"With time, there has been a huge influx of people into urban areas of India and significant changes in the lifestyle of the urban population. For Hepatitis E Virus and Hepatitis A Virus infections hygiene and sanitation practices play major roles, while for Hepatitis B Virus and Hepatitis C Virus, lifestyle and awareness are very important," said Dr Phadke.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 6 to 10 million new hepatitis cases are diagnosed. About 257 million people have chronic hepatitis B virus infection.

Viral hepatitis is responsible for an estimated 1.4 million deaths per year from acute infection and hepatitis-related liver cancer and cirrhosis, according to a report by the Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis.

Globally, out of the 1.4 million deaths, 48% are due to hepatitis C virus, 47% due to hepatitis B virus and the remaining to hepatitis A and hepatitis E viruses.

Facts on Hepatitis Infection
  • About 325 million people were living with hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus in 2015
  • Hepatitis is a silent killer that claimed 1.34 million lives in 2015
  • Nearly 95% of the people with hepatitis C can be cured completely within 2 to 3 months
  • In 2015, only 7% of the 71 million people with chronic hepatitis C had access to treatment

Source: Medindia

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