Over 30m in India carry
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Kounteya SinhaKounteya Sinha, TNN ,NEW DELHI: India
is reeling under a serious burden of Hepatitis.
Professor S K Acharya, HoD of gastroenterology at AIIMS, said studies reported
from various parts of India estimate that about 20 million Indians are Hep B
carriers and about 8 to 10 million may have silent Hep C virus infection.
"These individuals do not know that they have these infections. We presume that
about 300,000 cirrhosis and about 20,000 liver cancers may be occurring annually
in this country," Prof Acharya said.
According to him, India does not have a Hep B virus registry, or information on
the disease burden.
"Their treatment is expensive. Control strategies should include mass awareness,
universal guideline for immunization and hygienic handling of food and water,
which can reduce the liver disease burden substantially in our country," he
Other experts say Asia Pacific carries the highest burden of viral hepatitis,
with India and China together having an estimated 123 million people chronically
infected with Hepatitis B and 59 million chronically infected with Hepatitis C,
accounting for almost 50% of all infections worldwide. Now, a group of leading
experts has joined hands to create Coalition to Eradicate Viral Hepatitis in
Asia Pacific (CEVHAP) to fight viral hepatitis across India and urge governments
across Asia-Pacific to become more aware of the devastating effects of hepatitis
on individuals, their families and the community at large.
Globally too, Hep B and C is a serious problem, affecting one in 12 people
worldwide, claiming the lives of approximately one million every year.
World Health Organization declared July 28 as
the World Hepatitis Day. The World Health Assembly's Resolution on viral
hepatitis expressed concern about the lack of progress in prevention, control
and treatment of viral hepatitis around the world.