World Hepatitis Day: 52 million Indians suffer from chronic hepatitis

 Hepatitis is an inflammatory of the liver, commonly caused by a viral infection. 

Updated: Jul 28, 2016, 09:35 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Viral hepatitis poses a serious health threat to Indians with as many as 52 millions of them suffering from the chronic condition.


As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), the scenario has placed a huge social and economic burden on the affected families as well as the health system, reported the TOI.

Latest assessment by WHO shows that 40 million people in India are chronically infected with Hepatitis B, whereas 6 to 12 million people are chronically infected with Hepatitis C.

It said that hepatitis E virus (HEV) is the most important cause of epidemic hepatitis, hepatitis A virus (HAV) is found to be more common among children.

Hepatitis is an inflammatory of the liver, commonly caused by a viral infection. Hepatitis can also be caused by other factors such as medications, drugs, toxins, alcohol, autoimmune process (autoimmune hepatitis). Autoimmune hepatitis is a condition that occurs when your body makes antibodies against your liver tissue.


"There is need for immediate and urgent action to arrest the spread of hepatitis. In the South-East Asia Region, viral hepatitis is driving rates of liver cancer and cirrhosis, and is causing premature death and disease with over 100 million people chronically infected with Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C," WHO's Regional Director for South East Asia Poonam Khetrapal Singh was quoted as saying by TOI.

Hepatitis B is a potentially life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. It can be prevented by prevented by currently available safe and effective vaccine. As per WHO, the vaccine is 95% effective in preventing infection and the development of chronic disease and liver cancer due to hepatitis B.

However, there is currently no vaccine fot hepatitis C, which is caused by the hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C can cause both acute and chronic disease.

On World Hepatitis Day, celebrated on July 28 every year, WHO called on policy makers, health workers and the public to inform themselves about hepatitis, take positive action to reduce needless deathsfrom this preventable and treatable infection.