KARACHI, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 26th August, 2016) : Hepatitis is endemic in Pakistan and that all five hepatitis viruses- A, B, C, D, E, are present in the country. This was stated by Prof. Dr. S.M. Wasim Jafri, Associate Dean, Chairman of Department of Professional education, Hematologist and Consultant Gastroenterologist at Aga Khan University Hospital. He was speaking at a public awareness seminar at Dr. Panjwani Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCDM) Karachi University on Friday.
Prof. Jafri was of the view that Pakistan is endemic to Hepatitis which refers to an inflammatory condition of the liver. Liver is essential for life. All five hepatitis viruses, including HAV (Hepatitis A Virus), HBV (Hepatitis B Virus), HCV (Hepatitis C Virus), HDV (Hepatitis D Virus), HEV (Hepatitis E Virus), are present in the country. He pointed out that Hepatitis B and C are the major causes of liver failure in Pakistan and that Hepatitis is most often caused by a viral infection.
Prof. Jafri stated that Hepatitis A and E are acute (short-term) viral infections typically transmitted through food or water contaminated by fecal matter. The Public Awareness Seminar on `Hepatitis and its Prevention', held at PCMD, International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi. Prof. Jafri said that there are five main types of viral hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. Symptoms of the liver problem can include jaundice abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever, he said.
Hepatitis E is common in Pakistan, China and other parts of the world. Prof. Jafri said that hepatitis B and C are life-threatening but curable; the citizens are required to be informed about the diseases in the country. He stated that said jaundice was mainly caused by hepatitis A and E viruses, which is one of the outcomes of inflammation of the liver. He said that there is no vaccine available for HCV but HBV vaccine is available in the market, and used to prevent HBV.
He said that Hepatitis can be caused by drugs, alcohol or other toxins, by infection with bacteria, viruses or parasites, and hosts of other causes including storage disorders like Wilson's disease and Hemochromatosis; however viruses and alcohol are the most common cause of the illness. B and C are transmitted through exposure to infective blood. HBV can be transmitted from infected mothers to infants at the time of birth.
Transmission may also occur through transfusions of HBV and HCV-contaminated blood and blood products, contaminated injections during medical procedures, and through injection drug use. Both the viruses also pose a risk to healthcare workers who sustain accidental needle stick injuries while caring for infected-hepatitis patients. Sexual transmission is one of the other causes. Prof. Jafri stated that viral hepatitis sometimes goes away without any treatment, but in some cases, the virus will stay in the body and cause a chronic infection.