Liver is the largest internal organ of the body and weighs approximately 1.5 Kg. It is a major participant and contributor in the digestive process of the body. The liver is also responsible for detoxifying the chemicals and the drugs. It is also involved in the formulation of proteins that control the blood clotting and other functions. The complex organ performs vital functions, which if diagnosed diseased or affected can cause – Hepatitis, Cirrohosis, Liver Cancer, Liver Failure, Gall Stones, etc.
Types of Hepatitis & Liver Infections:
The swelling in the liver is called as ‘HEPATITIS’ .It is caused by various agents but the viral causes are most common. These viruses are called Hepatitis Viruses, namely A, B, C, D, E, & G, of these HAV & HEV are food & water borne infections mainly caused by intake of contaminated water & food. Rest of the virus have three important modes of transmission. Most important among these are blood borne infections. It is caused by transfusion of contaminated blood , blood products or use of contaminated needles. The second mode is mother to child transmission (MTCT) i.e. a when a infected pregnant lady transmits infection to the baby in her womb. The third mode of transmission is via unprotected sexual exposures with infected partner.
Protection and Prevention from Hepatitis:
Use of clean food & water is the best way to protect us from HAV & HEV infection. We have vaccine available against HAV infection also. Out of the other four viruses ,we have vaccine available for HBV only. Three doses of vaccine (at O, 1 & 6 months) gives a lifelong protection against HBV infection in most of the vaccine recipients. Adequate screening of blood & blood products in the blood bank, regular use of sterilized needles only, avoiding casual unprotected sexual exposures and adequate evaluation as well as treatment of infected pregnant females can go a long way in controlling these diseases.
‘World Hepatitis Day’ is celebrated on 28th of July every year to create awareness amongst us regarding Hepatitis. The theme for this year’s Hepatitis Day is ‘Elimination of Hepatitis as a Public Health threat by 2030’ .Let us come together to actively support this global elimination strategy on viral Hepatitis.