Free Screening Camp on World Hepatitis Day – 28th July 2018

World Hepatitis day was observed on 28th July, 2018 across the globe. Keeping up with the theme of World hepatitis day i e ‘Finding the Missing Millions’, the department of Hepatology, PGIMER, Chandigarh organized a free screening camp for hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) for the general public and patients at New OPD Block at PGI on Saturday, 28th July 2018. Even though this was a symbolic gesture, our aim was to make people aware about getting tested for asymptomatic chronic infections like HBV and HCV so as to prevent its late consequences, said Dr Ajay Duseja, Professor from the department of Hepatology, PGIMER, Chandigarh.

Both HBV and HCV which cause chronic viral hepatitis (CVH) spread by the parentral routes like blood transfusion, contaminated needles and instruments, razors and uncommonly by sexual route. In contrast to children, majority of adults after acute symptomatic infection with HBV will clear the virus and the disease becomes chronic only in around 10% of patients. In contrast to HBV, acute infection with HCV is usually asymptomatic and becomes chronic in the majority. World over there are around 40-50 crore (400-500 million) individuals infected together with hepatitis B and Hepatitis C virus infection. Majority of these patients (300 million) are asymptomatic and unaware of their infection and hence ‘finding missing millions’ is an appropriate theme for World hepatitis day 2018 said Dr RK Dhiman, Professor and Head, department of Hepatology, PGIMER, Chandigarh.

In India as well, there could be around 5-6 crores (50-60 million) patients with chronic viral hepatitis and testing these subjects for viral hepatitis is the only way to detect them. In PGI itself, almost 80-100 new patients of HBV or HCV are seen per month in the liver clinic run twice a week by the department of Hepatology of the Institute, said Dr Duseja. Over the years, we have seen some decline in the number of cases with HBV infection but the number of cases with HCV infection has gone up. In fact combined together both HBV and HCV are still responsible for 60-65% of patients liver cancer seen in the liver clinic and are the second commonest cause for cirrhosis liver, informed Dr Duseja.

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Editor in Chief of City Darpan, national hindi news magazine.

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