Viral Hepatitis: Misconceptions And Facts

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Viral Hepatitis: Misconceptions And Facts
Viral Hepatitis: Misconceptions And Facts

Video: Viral Hepatitis: Misconceptions And Facts

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Video: Myths and Facts About Hepatitis with Dr Wang Yu Tien 2023, January

Viral hepatitis: misconceptions and facts

July 28 is World Hepatitis Day, which is held under the auspices of WHO, which has adopted a global strategy to combat this infection. The goal of the strategy is to eradicate viral hepatitis completely by 2030. And this is impossible without raising awareness of how to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease.

Viral hepatitis: misconceptions and facts
Viral hepatitis: misconceptions and facts

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July 28 is World Hepatitis Day, which is held under the auspices of WHO, which has adopted a global strategy to combat this infection. The goal of the strategy is to completely eradicate viral hepatitis by 2030. And this is impossible without raising awareness about the methods of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Arslan Niyazov, a doctor at the Institute of Biomedical Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a hepatologist, a medical expert at the LabQvest laboratory, talks about important facts and misconceptions associated with hepatitis.

Russia signed a plan for the elimination of chronic viral hepatitis as a socially significant problem and biological threat in May 2016, together with other WHO member countries. The causative agents of hepatitis are 5 main viruses (A, B, C, D, E).

According to WHO, first of all, it is necessary to focus on the fight against viral hepatitis B and C, as the most dangerous. As they become chronic, they increase the risk of developing cirrhosis and liver cancer. According to official data for 2017, chronic hepatitis in the world was registered in approximately 325 million people (of which 257 million people had hepatitis B, and 71 million people had hepatitis C). In Russia, the incidence of acute viral hepatitis has begun to decline in recent years. But even now, about 36 thousand new cases of chronic forms of hepatitis B and about 55 thousand of chronic hepatitis C are detected annually. According to some data, today from 3 to 5 million Russians suffer from hepatitis C, from 2 to 3 million - hepatitis B But these figures do not reflect the true picture of the incidence, since many people do not even knowthat are carriers of potentially deadly viruses.

Myth number 1. Hepatitis is a disease of dirty hands

This is true only for hepatitis A and E, the main route of transmission of which is enteral ("fecal-oral"). They can be infected through contaminated water and food, as well as through unwashed hands. Accordingly, the measures of prevention are strict adherence to sanitary and hygienic rules in everyday life, at work (especially food) and in institutions. The rest of the causative agents of viral hepatitis (B, C and D) are transmitted by the parenteral route (mainly through the blood and mucous membranes). Most often this occurs with injecting drug use and unprotected sex.

Myth number 2. Hepatitis B and C only threaten antisocial individuals. Those who are far from drugs and questionable sex are not in danger

If you follow these rules, the risk of infection with hepatitis B and C viruses will be significantly lower. But, unfortunately, it will not disappear. For example, it is impossible to completely eliminate the risk of infection, especially in case of violation of the requirements of asepsis, when applying tattoos and piercings, during cosmetic procedures, manicure and pedicure, during medical procedures (dental procedures, surgical interventions, when transfusing blood products, if the requirements were violated to their preparation and use). To reduce the risk, such procedures are best done in proven places. It is also useful to have your own professional manicure tool and go to the salon only with it. It is strictly forbidden to use other people's toothbrushes, razors and other personal hygiene items.

Myth number 3. The best protection against viral hepatitis is vaccination

Today, there are vaccines only for hepatitis A and B. They, in fact, are the most effective way to prevent these types of hepatitis. In Russia, immunization against hepatitis B has been carried out within the framework of the National Calendar for more than 20 years. All children and adults under 55 who have not previously been vaccinated against this infection can get this vaccine free of charge. In general, such vaccinations today cover 70.8% of the population, and among newborns this figure is more than 98%. Vaccination against hepatitis B, accordingly, automatically ensures the prevention of hepatitis D, which cannot develop in the absence of infection with the hepatitis B virus. The vaccine against hepatitis A can be made at your own expense, it is carried out free of charge only to people from high-risk groups for epidemic indications. But from other types of hepatitis, including the most dangerous hepatitis C,vaccines do not yet exist as this virus is highly variable.

Myth number 4. With hepatitis, a person turns yellow, his urine darkens, feces brightens, pain in the right side occurs. No symptoms means everything is fine

These symptoms are characteristic mainly of acute hepatitis, and even then not always, since an asymptomatic form may also occur. Chronic hepatitis B and C can also be asymptomatic for many years, damaging the liver. Often, hepatitis B and C is detected by chance, for example, during despanseurization, preparation for a planned operation. For this reason, patients walk without treatment for many years. Therefore, it is so important to regularly get tested for hepatitis B and C.

Myth number 5. To be calm, after any operation or blood transfusion, you must immediately get tested for hepatitis B and C

It is better to donate blood for testing in the laboratory regularly, for example, once a year. By the way, it is better to do this not immediately after manipulations and procedures suspicious of infection, but after 3-6 months, when antibodies to the hepatitis C virus can already form in the blood, or HBsAg (HBs antigen, "Australian antigen") begins to be detected. With regard to hepatitis C, the detection of antibodies is not yet a reason for panic. Often, cure for acute hepatitis B and C occurs spontaneously (independently). Therefore, the diagnosis of hepatitis C is established only after the virus itself is found in the blood, and not just antibodies to it. And this requires a PCR study.

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