The World health organization identified viral hepatitis as a major global health problem that needs urgent response and it listed Nigeria among nations which carry almost 50% of the global burden of chronic hepatitis.
Unfortunately, very few of those infected accessed testing and treatment. Viral hepatitis caused 1.34 million deaths in 2015 – comparable with TB deaths and exceeding deaths from HIV. Hepatitis deaths are increasing.
Facts on Hepatitis
Hepatitis simply means inflammation of the liver
Hepatitis has various causes;
The most common causes of hepatitis are viral infections.
The hepatitis viruses are labeled “Hepatitis A – E viruses” of which Hepatitis B and C viruses are the most important due to their ability to cause long-term (chronic) infection.
About 500 million people are currently infected with chronic hepatitis B or C worldwide.
In Nigeria about 15 – 20% of the population has chronic hepatitis virus infection.
People with chronic viral hepatitis infection usually have no symptoms (or just non-specific symptoms) until complications such as liver cirrhosis, liver cancers or liver failure develops. At this stage it is more difficult to treat.
Diagnosis of viral hepatitis is made with just a simple blood test.
Individuals whose test results are negative are advised to be immunized against Hepatitis B virus (hepatitis C currently has no vaccine) while individuals with a positive test result should consult their doctors for further evaluation and management.
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