DHAKA: Like in other parts of the globe, ‘World Hepatitis Day-2012’ was observed on Saturday across the country with a theme “It’s closer than you think”.
Different organizations including Hepatitis Society, Liver Foundation chalked out various programme, including Shovajatra (procession), discussions in the city.
Viral hepatitis kills about 1 million people every year. In addition, an estimated 200 crore people experience chronic illness from their infection with hepatitis which is a major cause of liver cancer and liver cirrhosis. Of them, 75 percent infected people lived in Asia, health professionals said.
Only by increasing awareness of different forms of hepatitis and how the same can be prevented and treated, not only the spread of disease could be checked but thousands of lives could be saved also, they also said.
Worldwide, an estimated two billion people have been infected with the hepatitis B virus and more than 240 million have chronic (long-term) liver infections. About 5,00,000 people die every year due to the acute or chronic consequences of hepatitis B.
In Bangladesh, 5.4 percent people have been infected with the hepatitis B virus while 0.8 percent infected with hepatitis C virus.
Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease. The virus is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person.
Unlike HIV, the hepatitis B virus can survive outside the body for at least seven days. During this time, the virus can still cause infection if it enters the body of a person who is not protected by the vaccine.
Common modes of transmission are: unsafe injection practices, unsafe blood transfusions, early childhood infections (unapparent infection through close interpersonal contact with infected household contacts), prenatal (from mother to baby at birth) and unprotected sexual contact.
The hepatitis B vaccine is the mainstay of hepatitis B prevention. WHO recommends that all infants receive the hepatitis B vaccine.
The vaccine can be given as either three or four separate doses, as part of existing routine immunization schedules. In areas where mother-to-infant spread of the hepatitis B virus is common, the first dose of vaccine should be given as soon as possible after birth (i.e. within 24 hours).
The complete vaccine series induces protective antibody levels in more than 95% of infants, children and young adults. Protection lasts at least 20 years and is possibly life-long.
All children and adolescents younger than 18 years old and not previously vaccinated should receive the vaccine. People in high risk groups should also be vaccinated, health specialists said.
BDST: 1835 HRS, JUL 28, 2012
Edited by:Mohammed Humayun Kabir, Sr Newsroom Editor/ M. Mahbub Alam, Asst Output Editor
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