by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
Hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver, affects 400 million people worldwide. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), an estimated 95 percent living with hepatitis are unaware of their infection.
The communicable disease is described to have five main different virus types. They are referred to as Types A, B, C, D and E. Types A and E are mainly caused by ingesting contaminated food and water while Types B, C and D are caused by direct contact with infected body fluids
In a new study by scientists from Imperial College London, hepatitis was found to be a leading disease worldwide, killing many.
When examining and comparing statistics from 183 countries between the years 1990 to 2013, scientists found that the deaths caused by hepatitis have increased by 63 per cent.
Since 2013, there have been 1.43 million deaths globally with many from East Asia and majority caused by hepatitis types B and C. The statistics indicated that since 2003, there has been more deaths and today they continue to increase.
Dr. Graham Cooke who led the research said “This is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the global burden of viral hepatitis and it reveals startling findings”.
Although existing vaccines and medicines have helped many living with hepatitis of all types, there is still a need for more.
World Health Organisation in its global fight to minimise hepatitis, has increased its efforts, investing heavily into awareness initiatives to help people understand the disease and how they can avoid it.
To better address the issue, WHO proposed that the countries affected by Hepatitis and the organisations vocal in addressing the issue, together, should increase vaccination programs, focus more on preventing mother to child transmission and also increase access to treatment.
Now known to be a leading killer, the group of scientists have proposed that an urgent international measure is needed to help better address the issue globally.