Hepatitis B, the silent killer, more dangerous than HIV

For the layman, the word HIV may appear more dangerous than the innocuous sounding Hepatitis B. The reality however is pretty much the opposite.

Medical experts suggest that Hepatitis B is extremely infectious and contagious and is 10 times more widespread than HIV infection globally.

The Carriers and Symptoms
Hepatitis B is responsible for 2, 40,000 deaths in India every year. The menacing medical condition can lead to liver cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma). In 66 percent of the cases, the condition remains undiagnosed for a considerably long period of time, till the associated symptoms surface.

The condition can spread through sexual contact, transfusion of infected blood and contaminated needles or syringes. A mother can also pass on the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) to the new born during delivery.

Professional tattoo parlors can also enhance the spread of the virus if their tattooing or piercing equipment is not appropriately sterilized. While the possibility of spreading the virus through shared razors, nail clippers or toothbrushes is pretty low, the chances that the virus will spread through kissing, hugging or eating meals together is zero.

Young Generation Highly Vulnerable
Since the younger generation is sexually active, they are more susceptible to contracting HBV. Given its silent nature, this virus can wreak havoc on the affected person.

In a study aimed at gauging the intensity of the HBV in various cities of India, Metropolis healthcare analyzed 24,225 samples received at its labs in the year 2012.

The analysis of these samples, collected from Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai, revealed an overall incidence of 14 percent prevalence of the virus. The age group of 20 to 40 years had the highest (48%) positive samples.

Vaccination against Hepatitis B is pretty safe. In fact the vaccination is the most effective way to prevent Hepatitis B even though medical interventions like surgeries are available.

July 28 is the World Hepatitis Day.