Experts put a check on Hepatitis B
By Express News Service | Published: 29th July 2013 10:25 AM |
With rising Hepatitis B and C burden in the country, experts have called for concerted efforts not only for prevention, but also making treatment accessible and affordable to the patients.
Research developments have led to better understanding of the viruses, thereby resulting in improvement in treatment and cure rates. While newer drugs are being developed, it is also possible to direct personalised treatment regimen by identifying genetic factors in infected individuals and predicting responsiveness to medications, Director, Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, Prof Premasis Kar, said on Sunday.
Prevalence of Hepatitis B has almost doubled from 2 to 4 per cent about two decades to 4 to 8 per cent in the population at present.
Hepatitis C is also fast emerging a major public health problem and is estimated to afflict more than 1.5 per cent of the people in the country. Hepatitis B accounts for 40-60 per cent of the chronic liver diseases, including cirrhosis and liver cancer, while more than 30 per cent is caused by Hepatitis B. The rise in incidence is attributed to increase in injectable drug abuse, infected syringes and blood transfusions. Increasing alcoholism is also a problem as studies have shown there is increased incidence of Hepatitis B related liver cancer to the tune of 20 per cent among alcoholics.
“Better tools for diagnosis have also boosted detection rates. While making treatment accessible as well as affordable is the need of the hour, effective strategies should be devised to contain and prevent the diseases. Counselling centres should be opened at referral hospitals and medical colleges for the patients”, said Prof Kar, one of the leading researchers of Hepatitis viruses in the country. The former president of Indian Society of Gastroenterology (ISG) and Indian National Association for Study of Liver (INASL) delivered the Blumberg Oration at the 13th World Hepatitis B Eradication Day function. The 13th KGF Sammana was awarded to Director, RMRC, Dr S K Kar, for his research in Hep B in Odisha.