The Danger of Hepatitis

31 July 2022

Many of us are not aware about hepatitis as most of us think it is related to HIV. In fact, it is not just that. In conjunction with World Hepatitis Day, SinarPlus sheds light on this disease.

Hepatitis is an inflammatory disease of the liver that is caused by an infectious or non-infectious virus, which can cause many health problems and worse, death. There are five types of hepatitis caused by viruses, namely A, B, C, D and E. Each are different in terms of the method of infection, severity and prevention.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 354 million people live with chronic hepatitis B and C in the world and through its Global Hepatitis Strategy, the organisation strives to reduce infections by 90% and deaths by 65% from 2016 to 2030.

Meanwhile the National Library of Medicine in US reported approximately 4,067 cases of viral hepatitis in 2000. Of that number, approximately 497 cases were hepatitis A, 2,863 by hepatitis B and 550 cases by hepatitis C. caused approximately 497 cases.

In Malaysia, the Ministry of Health estimates more than 500,000 Malaysians to have hepatitis C but they aren’t aware of it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many with hepatitis do not have symptoms. In fact, it is more worrying that patients do not even know that they are infected. Some cases of chronic hepatitis also take a long time to develop.

Touching on the complications, Gastroenterologist and Hepatology Specialist, Sunway Medical Centre, Dr Sheikh Anwar Abdullah said, critical and chronic hepatitis that lasts more than six months could potentially cause damage to the liver.

“Over time the liver will turn into fibrotic tissue and leave a scar on the liver called cirrhosis of the liver,” he explained.

Among the signs are a swollen abdomen, easy bruising, behaviour and sensitivity can change, vomiting blood and black stools.

Dr Sheikh Anwar said when the liver does not maintain its functions and the complications worsens, a liver transplant is necessary for the individual to continue living.

He added that hepatitis A can be cured on its own without a vaccine and follows the person's immune system. The CDC recommends the hepatitis A vaccine to be given to children one year of age or older who did not receive childhood vaccinations and infants aged six to 11 months including adults traveling in countries with a high percentage of hepatitis A cases.

Source: Sinar Harian