Hepatitis Awareness

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver and is usually caused by a viral infection.  There are five main types of Hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. These types are of greatest concern owing to the potential for outbreaks and epidemics, and the widespread illness and death that they can cause. Hepatitis types A and B lead to chronic disease and are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.

Key Facts

Hepatitis A and E are usually caused by the ingestion of contaminated food or water. These types are closely linked to a lack of safe water and poor sanitation and hygiene. Most patients make a full recovery and experience no long-term effects.

Hepatitis B is an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) caused by contact with infected blood, semen and other bodily fluids.  Hepatitis B causes swelling of the liver and, if the damage is serious enough, it can lead to cancer.

Hepatitis B, C and D typically arise as a result of contact with infected body fluids.

Common modes of transmission include contact with contaminated blood or equipment, sexual contact and mother to child transmission during birth.

Only a person who already has the Hepatitis B virus can be infected with Hepatitis D.

Ways To Prevent Hepatitis Infection 

  • Get vaccinated against Hepatitis
  • Wash your hands after using the bathroom
  • Drink boiled or commercially bottled water if you are unsure of local sanitation
  • Practise safe sex
  • Only use clean, sterile syringes and needles
  • Do not share toothbrushes, razors or other personal items

 Tip of the Month

  •  The 28th of July is World Hepatitis Day.
  •  Hepatitis B is an important occupational hazard for health workers and people working in the waste management industry.
  •  Make sure that your staff  members are informed about the risks associated with Hepatitis and that they take the necessary precautions to avoid contracting the virus.
  •  Maintain a high level of hygiene in the workplace and establish proper disposal systems to eliminate sanitary waste.
  •  Enquire about the availability of Hepatitis vaccines.

Sources:

World Health Organisation

Medical News Today

 

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