This was informed by the state’s leading hepatologist Dr N Suraj during an interaction with the media in Imphal ahead of World Hepatitis Day observation on July 28.
“Presently, only 50 per cent of newborn babies are vaccinated with hepatitis.
“Newborns should be vaccinated under the universal immunization programme and this can help in the prevention of the disease, especially Hepatitis B,” added Dr Suraj.
“Hepatitis B and C are silent killers as there are no specific symptoms,” he added.
Dr Suraj also added that Hepatitis C can be completely cured through proper treatment and care.
Dr Suraj further informed that viral Hepatitis B and C are major health challenges as it has affected 325 million people globally.
“About 1.4 million deaths occur due to viral hepatitis each year in South-East Asia and out of this 81 per cent are attributed to chronic complications of Hepatitis B and C,” added Dr Suraj.
He also admitted that India is second after China in terms of the number of chronic hepatitis infections as the disease has overtaken HIV/AIDS and malaria in terms of the death rate.
He further informed that around 50 million Indians are chronically infected with Hepatitis B and 12-18 million with Hepatitis C.
Dr Suraj also warned that if Hepatitis B & C are not treated on time, they can turn into major life-threatening complications of chronic liver diseases-cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and liver cancer.
“Vaccination and timely initiation of antiviral treatment is very essential to control the growth of this notoriously contagious virus, which has become a growing concern in India,” he added.
He also informed that those in Manipur infected with the viruses can avail free treatment at RIMS (Regional Institute of Medical Sciences) and JNIMS (Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences).
“Drugs for free at RIMS and JNIMS would be available from July 28,” he added.
“Time has come to create awareness among the general public about this extremely contagious disease. Timely detection and initiation of antiviral medication is the need of the hour,” the hepatologist said.