Hepatitis causes liver damage and cancer and kills over a million people a year. Of the 5 types of hepatitis, hepatitis B and C cause the most illness and death. Hepatitis C can be cured; however, only 21 percent of people infected with hepatitis C are diagnosed, and only 13 percent receive curative treatment.
Only 10% of people living with chronic hepatitis B are diagnosed, and only 2% of those infected receive life-saving medications.
Regarding World Hepatitis Day on 28 July, Coosalud EPS epidemiologist Enrique Mazenette explains what the date represents: about the vaccination strategy and scheme faced in Colombia, how to work with prevention, and the warning signs to be aware of.
(Also read: Hepatitis B: How does this virus cause liver cancer?)
Why is this date important?
World Hepatitis Day is an opportunity to step up the global fight against hepatitis, call on people to act and get involved, and highlight the need for a larger global response.
How is Colombia doing on the hepatitis prevention and control strategy?
The Ministry of Health and Social Protection has included in the promotion and maintenance of health the offer of tests for hepatitis C for people with risk factors, such as a history of blood transfusion before 1996, people over 50 years of age or who have had unprotected sex. and testing for hepatitis B is offered, in particular, to all pregnant women. In terms of prevention, the hepatitis B vaccination program is being strengthened.
(Also read: What is new acute hepatitis and what are its symptoms?)
Since 2021, the Ministry and the Resource Administrator of the General Social Security System in Health (Address) have been centrally procuring drugs for the treatment of hepatitis C for patients in both subsidized and funded regimes, which are prescribed free of charge, respectively. way through the EPS.
Hepatitis C treatment is highly effective with few side effects. More than 95% of those who receive a full 12-week treatment without interruption recover.
What is this disease?
Viral hepatitis is a group of diseases caused by various viruses that infect the liver. Viruses have different routes of transmission such as water, food on the one hand, or blood transfusion, sharing needles, tattoos in unsafe environments, or sexual relations, depending on the virus.
Viruses can damage the liver, causing serious illness and even death. In some cases, they can cause liver cancer. Hepatitis is often asymptomatic, so you can become infected and infect others without even knowing it.
(Also read: First case of acute hepatitis of unknown origin reported in Colombia)
What preventive measures can be taken to avoid this?
There are a few important things to keep in mind to prevent hepatitis:
What symptoms should be alarming?
In most cases, there are no symptoms. Some people may experience yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes; yellow urine and white feces.
(Also read: Colombia has facilities to detect cases of childhood hepatitis)
There are hepatitis A, B, C, D and E… which are the most common in Colombia and why?
Hepatitis A is the most common, the virus that causes it is transmitted through water and food and spreads very easily, so most of the population had exposure to the virus before the age of 12. Most cases have no symptoms and usually heal on their own.
The next is hepatitis B, which is transmitted sexually, through blood and bodily fluids, and is highly contagious. The third is hepatitis C, which is also transmitted through blood and sexual contact. It can appear in people who received blood transfusions before 1996, when the virus began to be detected in blood bags. D and E viruses are rare.
(Also read: There are more than a thousand cases of childhood hepatitis of unknown origin)
What is the role of hepatitis vaccines?
Vaccines are currently available for hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Both vaccines are very effective in preventing the spread of the disease by reducing the number of cases. In Colombia, regular hepatitis B vaccination began in 1993, so people born after that date are protected. It also applies specifically to medical personnel and risk groups. The hepatitis A vaccine has been included in the extended immunization schedule since 2013.
(Also read: US authorities ask to remove barriers to hepatitis treatment)
The protagonist of this date is the liver, in addition to suffering or hepatitis of any type, how to take care of it?
There are several things you can do to take care of your liver:
According to EUROPA PRESS