- World Hepatitis
Day is observed on 28thJuly every year to improve public
awareness about the disease
- The WHO has started
a campaign to eliminate hepatitis by 2030
- Dr. Ambrose
Pradeep talks about 'Hepatitis Free Chennai 2022' campaign and more
Hepatitis Day 2017 is observed to raise awareness about hepatitis, a group of
infectious diseases that leads to an inflammation of the liver. There are five
different types of hepatitis
A, B, C, D and E, which affect millions worldwide. Hepatitis results in the
death of nearly 1.4 million people all over the world.
World Health Organization has marked World Hepatitis Day as one of the Global
Health Campaigns. The World Hepatitis Day
is aimed at lowering the global burden of disease and to bring about
improvement in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
Objectives of World
Hepatitis Day 2017
WHO's Global Strategy on Viral Hepatitis-
awareness about the disease
screening, prevention and control of viral hepatitis
the reach of hepatitis B vaccine
- Generating global
support for hepatitis
69th World Health Assembly
was held at Geneva in 2016, where 194
accepted the WHO's Global
Strategy on Viral Hepatitis
‘World Hepatitis Day 2017 is observed to raise awareness on hepatitis. ‘Get Tested’ says Dr. Ambrose Pradeep, Senior Medical Officer at YRG CARE.’
main aims of the strategy were:
Hepatitis B and C within the next 13 years
- NoHep is a global
movement that is focused on eliminating Hepatitis by 2030
vision of this strategy is to restrict hepatitis transmission and to ensure
that patients infected with this disease condition have access to treatment and
WHO's Key Message for
World Hepatitis Day 2017
Symptoms of hepatitis
- Viral Hepatitis is a global health problem
- In middle and low
income countries, only a few patients have access to care and treatment
- Viral hepatitis
led to 1.34 million deaths in
the year 2015
- There is
continued occurrence of new infections
symptoms of hepatitis include:
- Dark colored
- Stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
- Yellowing of eyes
and skin, jaundice
forms of hepatitis are mild while others can be serious and can lead to liver
Improvements in Treatment
the past few years there have been significant strides in the treatment
measures for hepatitis. For example, for Hepatitis C viral infections, weekly
injections of interferon were required along with ribavarin injections taken
daily for 24 to 48 weeks. The side effects for these drugs ranged from
depression to suicidal tendencies. However, current treatment strategies
involve oral medications that can be taken over 12 weeks, with high success
Hepatitis Free Chennai 2022
CARE, an institution that was started to provide treatment and care for HIV
patients also focuses on the treatment for Hepatitis C infections. It is currently carrying out a project to
eliminate hepatitis C infection from Chennai by 2022.
conducted an exclusive interview with Dr. Ambrose Pradeep, Senior Medical
Officer at YRG CARE. Dr. Pradeep was awarded the Fogarty International
Scholarship Program for Infectious Diseases through NIH and Brown University
and is the Principal Investigator for Hepatitis B and C clinical trials. Here
is an excerpt of an interview with Dr. Pradeep- Q. How
prevalent is hepatitis in India?
Hepatitis is a condition where the liver is
inflamed. Hepatitis can be caused by genetic factors, medications, alcohol and
hepatitis Viruses (A, B, C, D and E). According to the WHO, in India it is
estimated that 40 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B and
6 to 12 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis C.
Q. Can you tell us about the causative agents?
Hepatitis A and E viruses cause acute viral hepatitis. They are both
transmitted through contaminated food and drinks. HEV is the most common cause
for epidemic hepatitis and hepatitis during pregnancy. Most of the acute liver
failures in India are attributed to HEV. HAV is usually self-limiting with
lower mortality, rarely leading to death. It can affect anyone but mostly
affects children and young adults.
B virus (HBV) is a major global public health problem, causing both acute and
chronic hepatitis. The rate of progression to chronic hepatitis varies,
depending on the stage of acquiring HBV 90 percent for perinatally acquired
infection, 20 to 50 percent
infections between the age of one and five years, and less than 5 percent for
adult-acquired infection. HBV is transmitted from patients who are infected to
those who are not immune via contaminated blood and body fluids, mainly through
unprotected sexual intercourse and injection drug use. It can also be
transmitted from mother-to-child. HBV infection remains an important cause of
morbidity and mortality.
D virus (HDV) is a defective virus that requires the presence of HBV to
complete its life cycle.
C virus (HCV) infection is one of the most common causes of chronic liver
disease and accounts for 8000 to 13,000
deaths each year. It is estimated that over 80% of patients
who are exposed to HCV progress to chronic hepatitis
. Most patients
infected acquire the disease through intravenous drug use, contaminated
injection or blood transfusion. It is important to note that one can acquire
HCV via piercing of body parts
Q. What are the precautionary steps that need to
be taken to prevent this disease?
HAV prevention strategies include
vaccination, immune globulin and attention to hygienic practices. People
traveling to HEV endemic zones should use the same principles for preventing
diarrhea which includes avoidance of water of unknown purity, food from street
vendors, raw or undercooked seafood, meat or pork products, and raw vegetables.
is an effective vaccine which when taken before exposure to the virus is the
best way to prevent HBV infection. All newborns are universally vaccinated in
India. There are other high risk groups where the vaccine is recommended
include healthcare personnel, injection drug users, men who have sex with men,
human immunodeficiency virus [HIV]-infected patients, and hepatitis C virus
infected patients. Immune globulin is helpful post exposure management. Other
individual prevention strategies can be used for special populations that are
affected like mother to child and injection drug users.
is no effective pre or post-exposure prophylaxis for persons exposed to HCV.
Thus, the management of personnel potentially exposed to HCV involves early
diagnosis and treatment of HCV infection should it occur. At the moment the
only way to prevent is by adopting safe sex and needle practices.
Q. How can one detect the condition and what are
the symptoms of this condition?
All hepatitis viruses have an antigen or
antibody based screening blood test that is simple, inexpensive and easily
accessible. Symptoms of acute hepatitis include feeling tired, nausea and
vomiting, decreased appetite, fever, pain in the right upper abdomen, dark
colored urine, light colored stools, jaundice and itchy skin.
early stages of chronic hepatitis are asymptomatic and symptoms develop in the
late stages when cirrhosis sets in, which include jaundice, swelling of belly
and legs, easy bruising, breathing difficulty, confusion and coma.
motivated you to start the hepatitis free 2022 campaign?
Hepatitis C was once a killer disease with no
effective cure till recently. Earlier treatments were very toxic with low cure
rates while the newer regimens with shorter duration offer nearly 99% cure
rates with minimal side effects. 2022 is a Hepatitis C free Chennai campaign
aimed at curing HCV in Chennai by 2022. It is estimated that 80000 people in
Chennai are currently living with HCV and 95% do not know their status. The
drive is to identify these cases, link them to care and effectively stop new
does the program involve and what are the steps taken?
The outreach program currently reaches out in two folds:
- the outreach team reaches out to academic institutions, corporate sectors and
industrial areas. Facts relating to HCV spread are shared with the audience
using posters and a powerpoint presentation. A clinician usually accompanies
the outreach team to disseminate the facts followed by an offer to have the
employees tested in the corporate houses.
- offers counseling and HCV testing at a very nominal cost, and sharing the
results on a one-on-one basis thus maintaining highest degree of
confidentiality. The corporate houses usually cover the testing needs of their
employees as part of their health and wellness plan.
Q. What would you like to tell our readers this
World Hepatitis Day 2017?
We are now equipped with excellent drugs
which can cure HCV but all of it would be a waste if it does not reach its
target. Most people who need treatment are not treated due to lack of awareness
and it is important to know your status. Get Tested.
- World Hepatitis Day - (http://worldhepatitisday.org/showyourface)
- Hepatitis - (https://medlineplus.gov/hepatitis.html)
- ELIMINATE HEPATITIS - (http://www.worldhepatitisday.org/en/2017-campaign)
- What is World Hepatitis Day? - (http://worldhepatitisday.org/en/about-us)
- Vision, goal and targets - (http://www.who.int/hepatitis/strategy2016-2021/portal/vision-goal-targets/en/)
- Hepatitis C Free Chennai 2022 - (http://www.yrgcare.org/projects/hepatitis-c-free-chennai-2022/#)