BENGALURU: On World Hepatitis Day, hepatologists warn of ‘Covid-associated’ hepatitis being on the rise. Around 30% of patients hospitalised due to Covid are developing hepatitis, as the coronavirus is known to affect the liver. Medication used in management of Covid can also cause hepatitis. These patients are likely to have had severe Covid and prolonged illness, said Dr Adarsh C K, chief consultant-gastroenterologist, hepatologist, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital. He cautioned that patients with moderate to severe Covid need liver evaluation, and should avoid self-medication.
Dr A N Desai, Deputy Director, National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme, said that every month, 200-210 confirmed hepatitis cases are reported in the State. Dr Nagendra Kumar V R, consultant paediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition, Manipal Hospital, Yeshwanthpur, added that they saw severe hepatitis and liver failure due to multi-system inflammatory symptoms among children who suffered from Covid-19. Dr Sandeep Sastangi, hepatologist, Apollo Hospital, Seshadripuram, said they were also seeing a rise in alcoholic hepatitis and fatty liver related hepatitis.
About 70 per cent of hepatitis cases were related to unhealthy lifestyle. Dr Ravi Kiran, consultant hepatology, Narayan Health City, explained that hepatitis is generally caused by viruses like Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. Acute hepatitis is caused by viruses A and E through unhygienic practices like consuming contaminated water, and undercooked or uncooked food like shrimp and oysters.
After an incubation period ranging from two weeks to six weeks, the infection can manifest as jaundice, abdomen discomfort or fever. Dr Ravi Kiran added that Hepatitis B, C and D are contracted through contaminated blood, possibly through body piercing and tattooing, sharing drug needles, razors or toothbrushes, and touching spilled infected blood. Hepatitis B and C can also be contracted through sexual contact. Vaccination against Hepatitis A and B can help prevent infection, he added.