Hepatitis : Risks and preventive measures

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Kunle Emmanuel
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:02 pm
Location: Lagos

Hepatitis : Risks and preventive measures

Unread post by Kunle Emmanuel »

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. It can affect any individual of any age including children.

Viral hepatitis is most commonly caused by hepatitis A virus (HAV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV). But hepatitis D and E viruses also exist.

Other common causes of hepatitis include- infections, toxic substances (e.g. alcohol, certain drugs), autoimmune diseases and metabolic disorders.

It is estimated that prevalence of hepatitis C infection is more than 6 times the prevalence of HIV infection. The World Health Organisation has called the HCV a “viral time bomb”, which signifies that the policy makers must pay the required attention towards this health issue.

WHO is alerting people to the risk of contracting hepatitis from infected blood, infected injections, and sharing drug-injection equipment.

Risk factors, symptoms and causes

Hepatitis A: This form of hepatitis is commonly found in children and is usually spread by fecal-oral contact or fecal-infected food and water.

A baby could get hepatitis A by consuming food/water contaminated with HAV-infected stool.

Parents might not even know that their children have caught the disease as hepatitis A can be a mild infection. However, in serious cases of infection, symptoms include fever, vomiting, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dark-colored urine, and jaundice.

Hepatitis A usually causes mild illness, but it can also cause prolonged illness for upto six months

Hepatitis B: The hepatitis B virus is spread by contact with blood and other body fluids of an infected person. Infants may contract hepatitis B if they are born to a mother who has the virus.

In adults, it can be transmitted through unprotected sex with an HBV-infected person and sharing of contaminated needles or syringes for injecting drugs.

Symptoms may range from a mild illness to more serious chronic liver disease that can result in liver failure. Common symptoms may include fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, jaundice, etc.

Women who had hepatitis while giving birth, should make sure that their newborns get both the hepatitis B vaccine and an injection of immune globulin, which contains antibodies against the virus. In addition to that, these babies should be tested at about 9 to 15 months old to make sure that the vaccination was effective.

Hepatitis C: It is more common in adults than in children. Hepatitis C is transmitted through direct contact with human blood and other body fluids. A baby can also get hepatitis C from his/her infected mother.

In adults, it can also be acquired through sexual contact with an infected person or through intravenous drug use.

Symptoms are usually mild and children often show no symptoms at all and therefore, parents get to know about their kid's disease at a later stage.

Hepatitis C leads to chronic liver disease in a majority of people infected with the virus. HCV is also considered to be the leading cause for liver transplantation in adults. Chronic hepatitis C virus infection is also linked with cancer.

Tests and diagnosis

All of the above conditions can be diagnosed through blood tests. A healthcare provider may also ask for liver function tests in order to determine the extent of the damage. A liver biopsy may be asked to do to further check for organ damage. Other tests and diagnostic procedures to determine the extent of the disease include CT scans and MRI.


Like any other diseases, practising a good hygiene can help prevent the risk of getting as well as spreading hepatitis. Other preventive measures include:

Vaccinations - vaccinations are available for HAV and HBV, unfortunately, there's no vaccine for HCV.

WHO recommends vaccinating all children against hepatitis B infection. The vaccine should be given as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by 2 or 3 doses to complete the vaccine series. A safe and effective vaccine can protect from hepatitis B infection for life.

WHO also recommends vaccinating adults who are at increased risk of acquiring hepatitis B.

Blood transfusion – to reduce the risk of infection, blood transfusion is routinely screened for hepatitis B and C.
Nigerian Nurses lighting up the world one candle at a time.

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Matron Ben
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Joined: Fri May 18, 2012 9:17 am

Re: Hepatitis : Risks and preventive measures

Unread post by Matron Ben »

These are the 10 things you need to know about hepatitis. I believe with this, you will know the pro-active actions to take to deal with this viral infection.

1 People may have no symptoms of hepatitis while some other people may develop visible symptoms like skin discolouration, poor appetite, pain around the abdomen, vomiting, diarrhoea.

2 Hepatitis may be acute (temporary) or chronic (short term). This is dependent on whether it stays up to or more than 6 months on the body of the infected person(s). Remember that a typical hepatitis case may result in the other, and the time span for changing phases may be short, depending on the swiftness to treating when discovered!

3 Some of the signs and symptoms include (but not limited to) tiredness, dark urine, pale and watery stool, unexpected weight loss, yellow skin, yellow eyes, and typical signs of jaundice.

4 Drug use can lead to hepatitis. For you that is keen with self-medication all the time. You better watch it Now!!

5 Hepatitis, especially C is ten times more infectious than HIV/AIDS. Hepatitis C can also be sexually transmitted but the likelihood of contacting the virus is through sharing needles, blood transfusions and other equipment used in injecting drugs. Even unsterilized tattoo needles can lead to a viral Hepatitis infection! Take Note!!

6 80% of people infected with Hepatitis C do not even know that they have it. This is shocking but true!

7 Dirty environments, poor sanitation like dirty bathroom, drinking contaminated water, eating food that is not properly cooked, and under-cooked meat of pigs can expose you to a high level ad risk of contracting hepatitis A and E.

8 People in areas flooding too are exposed to the virus. Remember the recent Lagos flooding? Hmmn!!

9 Hepatitis B is usually transferred for mother to child, hence the major reason why a lot of pregnant women are tested for one typle. If you are pregnant and have not been tested. Quickly rush to your doctor.

10 Chronic hepatitis can lead to liver failure and when that begins to happen, your brain can relapse and that can lead to a condition close to dementia. Also, there may be issues with blood clotting since faulty liver leads to fewer protein which helps to clot blood.

When you notice any of the symptoms in detecting whether you have Hepatitis or not. Please go see a doctor, I am not a doctor, would have used this as a marketing strategy to say you should contact me.

Visit a doctor for medical check up and screening.

Also, we should try as much as possible to check certain lifestyle behaviours like the food we eat and water we drink. The cheapest and most available lifestyles activities we partake in are the things that cause dangerous diseases and viral infections to our body! Sound health is as expensive as it is cheap!

Prevention is better than cure! Pass this information around please and get family and friends reading, it’s the world hepatitis day! Have you gone for a check up already?

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Matron Ben
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Joined: Fri May 18, 2012 9:17 am

Re: Hepatitis : Risks and preventive measures

Unread post by Matron Ben »

All health workers should be vaccinated for hepatitis B.

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