Why in news?
On September 3, 2019 Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Thailand became the first four countries in the WHO’s Southeast Asia region to have successfully controlled hepatitis B.
What is this disease?
- Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver.
- The condition can be self-limiting or can progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer.
- Though Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis in the world, other infections, toxic substances like alcohol , certain drugs and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis.
- There are 5 main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E.
- Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is present in the faeces of infected persons and is most often transmitted through consumption of contaminated water or food. Certain sex practices can also spread HAV. HAV infections can also be severe and life threatening.
- Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is transmitted through exposure to infectious blood, semen, and other body fluids, contaminated injections during medical procedures, and through injection drug use. HBV can be transmitted from infected mothers to infants at the time of birth or from family members to infants in early childhood. Safe and effective vaccines are available to prevent HBV.
- Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is mostly transmitted through exposure to infectious blood. Sexual transmission is also possible, but is much less common. There is no vaccine for HCV.
- Hepatitis D virus (HDV) infections occur only in those who are infected with HBV. The dual infection of HDV and HBV can result in a more serious disease and worse outcome. Hepatitis B vaccines provide protection from HDV infection.
- Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is mostly transmitted through consumption of contaminated water or food. Safe and effective vaccines have been developed but are not widely available.