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Hepatitis Day of Reckoning for a Happening Virus

Is life worth living? It all depends on the liver. - William James.

The liver has a crucial role to play (in) infusing our zest for life. A spirit that we take for granted, could completely crash when the liver is afflicted. The most notorious of liver afflictions is Hepatitis, which could cause a host of associated ailments that could endanger life. Many lives have changed beyond repair due to the disease - The World Hepatitis Day is a reality check of the world status in the treatment of this disease.

The distinct categories of Hepatitis are A, B and C of which Hepatitis B is particularly virulent. In India alone, nearly 36 million people are severely affected by the Hepatitis B virus. Worldwide, the figures are estimated at 300 to 400 million people, and the vulnerable areas are Southeast Asia, China, sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

In the United States, there are nearly 2 million cases of Hepatitis B, attributed to the heavy flow of immigrants from vulnerable countries. Some of the ethnic communities in the United States do not avail the facilities of the healthcare system. Therefore, many sufferers go undiagnosed and fuel the spread of the disease. Experts have also cautioned that those born before 1985 in the vulnerable areas are at risk; as vaccines for HEP B were not part of the immunization programme.

Honing in on the incidence of the HBV virus, experts have said that the virus is more common than the AIDS virus, and can easily spread through contaminated blood and fluids like saliva, breast milk, vaginal secretions, open wounds, and even tears. The virus is virulent, because it could cause a host of associated chronic illnesses, like Hepatocellular carcinoma. It is estimated that more than half a million people worldwide die each year from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and up to 80 percent of these cancers are caused by chronic Hepatitis B.

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