With the observation of World Hepatitis Day 2012 on Saturday, July 28, media outlets globally wrote about the incredibly large numbers of people infected with the liver viruses in their own countries.
The Pakistani news source, The News International reported Saturday that 12 million people are infected in Pakistan according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In fact the paper says the country is facing an epidemic of the viral disease.
Nationally, a prevalence of 4.9% is seen with hepatitis C and 2.4% with hepatitis B nationally.
The major causes for the high numbers in Pakistan are due to frequent use of therapeutic injections, re-use of syringes, inappropriate sterilization practices and poor hospital waste management.
Pakistan’s neighbor to the east, India reports that viral hepatitis claims around 250,000 lives annually in the country.
According to a report in the Daily Pioneer Saturday, about 10 million Indians are anti-HCV positive and 5 million of them may be viremic. Of these, nearly 25 per cent, which is over 1 million of the population, may develop chronic liver disease within two decades and 1 per cent to 4 per cent of them may develop liver cancer.
The Southeast Asian country of Vietnam is also dealing with an extraordinary burden of hepatitis.
Saigon Giai Phong, the Vietnamese Communist Party newspaper reports an estimated eight million people are infected with hepatitis B or C virus and liver cancer is the second leading cause of death in men.
Injection drug users in the country have a very high prevalence of the hepatitis C virus reported to be over 98 percent.
On the African continent, Nigerian media reports 19 million people are affected by hepatitis B.
According to Channels TV report Saturday:
Associate Professor and Consultant Gastroenterologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Dr. Funmilayo Lesi, a member of SGHIN, said hepatitis B is a common disease in Nigeria that affects at least 19 million or one in eight Nigerians. She called on Nigerians to take steps to prevent the disease, as there are vaccines to prevent its occurrence.
This year’s theme for World Hepatitis Day 2012 is “It’s closer than you think”.
The Global Dispatch reported in an article about World Hepatitis Day that approximately 500 million people worldwide are living with either hepatitis B or hepatitis C. This represents 1 in 12
people, yet awareness remains inexplicably low. If left untreated and unmanaged, hepatitis B or C can lead to advanced liver scarring (cirrhosis) and other complications, including liver cancer or liver failure. Together, hepatitis B and C kill approximately one million people every year.
According to the CDC, Hepatitis B is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis B virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. Hepatitis B is usually spread when blood, semen, or another body fluid from a person infected with the Hepatitis B virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. This can happen through sexual contact with an infected person or sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment. Hepatitis B can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby at birth.
Hepatitis B can be either acute or chronic. Acute Hepatitis B virus infection is a short-term illness that occurs within the first 6 months after someone is exposed to the Hepatitis B virus. Acute infection can — but does not always — lead to chronic infection. Chronic Hepatitis B virus infection is a long-term illness that occurs when the Hepatitis B virus remains in a person’s body. Chronic Hepatitis B is a serious disease that can result in long-term health problems, and even death.
The best way to prevent Hepatitis B is by getting vaccinated.
Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with hepatitis C virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Hepatitis C can also be transmitted through sexual contact.
Hepatitis C can be either “acute” or “chronic”. Acute hepatitis C virus infection is a short-term illness that occurs within the 1st 6 months after someone is exposed to hepatitis C virus. For most people, acute infection leads to chronic infection. Chronic hepatitis C is a serious disease than can result in long-term health problems, or even death. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page
To receive email updates of the latest infectious disease news and information, click the “subscribe” button at the top of the story