Curbing Hepatitis B transmission

The Hepatitis B virus spreads rapidly but its medication is not readily availability.  Hepatitis is an inflammatory disease of the liver.

The Hepatitis B virus spreads rapidly but its medication is not readily availability.  Hepatitis is an inflammatory disease of the liver.

Most times adults with acute hepatitis B recover completely and as a result, they become immune to any future infection of the virus. In contrast, most infants and children infected with acute hepatitis B virus become chronically infected.

The Hepatitis B virus is spread or acquired through exposure to infected blood or body secretions. The highest concentrations of the virus are found in blood, semen, vaginal discharge, breast milk, and saliva. There are only low concentrations of hepatitis B in urine.

Today, adolescents and young adults account for the majority of reported cases of infection.

Sexual intercourse is the most common means of transmission but the virus can be spread in several different ways. These include; intravenous drug use, skin popping (injecting under the skin), tattooing, body piercing and acupuncture with non-sterile instruments.

This virus can be spread from infected mothers to their babies at the time of birth. This is the most important means of transmission in regions where the hepatitis B viral infection is always present.

Additionally, it can be transmitted through sharing toothbrushes and razorblades. Also, blood-sucking insects such as mosquitoes and bed bugs in the tropics are a mode of transmission.

Chronic hepatitis B can be diagnosed in patients with increased liver enzymes such as aminotransferases, hepatitis B virus viraemia and necroinflammation with fibrosis on liver biopsy.

Ideally, all patients in a chronic condition are treated using a realistic therapeutic approach.

Currently, the three drugs licensed for chronic hepatitis B are; interferon-alpha, lamivudine and adefovir dipivoxil.

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