It has been reported that there are 3 million people with Hepatitis B, almost 750 thousand people with Hepatitis C, and about 17 million unregistered people living with hepatitis in Turkey. July 28 is observed as World Hepatitis Day by World Health Organization and World Hepatitis Alliance to raise awareness about viral hepatitis, and to call for access to treatment.
Deniz Talaz, Lecturer at IUE Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Nursing, stated that hepatitis was swelling and inflammation of the liver most commonly caused by a viral infection. Viral hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. Talaz said, “There are five different hepatitis viruses, hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. B and C especially are more dangerous. Hepatitis, which is gradually increasing worldwide, is a significant health concern. There are 350 million people with hepatitis B, 170 million people with hepatitis C, which makes a total of more than 500 million people with chronic hepatitis. Patients with chronic hepatitis B or C are at more risk in developing liver failure, cirrhosis, and cancer, and almost 1 million 500 thousand people die because of this.”
‘MORE INFECTIOUS THAN AIDS’
Hepatitis B virus is 100 times more infectious and 7 times more common than HIV, said Talaz. “People staying at nurseries, schools, dorms, daycare centers, or places with poor sanitary conditions are at risk group. Also at risk are health employees, military personnel, blood and organ donors and receivers, hemodialysis patients, chemo patients, pregnant women, gays, drug addicts, people with immune-deficiency disorders, with chronic liver diseases, and unvaccinated people,” reported Talaz.
‘Ways of Prevention’
Practicing good hygiene and getting regular checks are the main way to avoid catching hepatitis. Talaz stated the following:
“Mother to infant during childbirth, blood transfusions and blood products using unscreened blood, sharing equipment for injecting drugs, needle stick injury in healthcare settings, open wounds, unprotected sex, bodily fluids as saliva, sweat, semen, teardrop, sharing razors, toothbrushes or other household articles, medical or dental interventions without adequate sterilization of equipment, human feces, polluted water, and raw seafood, acupuncture, tattooing and body piercing if done using unsterilized equipment are most common routes of transmission. Hepatitis is preventable and curable. One needs to know how it is transmitted and prevented. Practicing good hygiene and regular check-ups are important in preventing it.”