Doctors warn against deadly Hepatitis disease

HepatitisWORRIED by the high incidence of Hepatitis-related sicknesses and deaths, medical workers in the state have warned Lagosians to be wary of the danger of living with the silent killer.

The doctors, under the aegis of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), said a lot of people were living with the virus, especially Hepatitis B and the first-feel of the disease was only when it is too late to treat.

Against the disease, however, they urged the public to know their status through proper screening and get vaccinated against the Hepatitis B even when they are negative.

The doctors, at an outreach to commemorate this year’s World Hepatitis Day in Ifako-Ijaye area of Lagos, noted that Hepatitis remains one of the major silent killers of men, women and children world over.

Consultant Gastroenterologist at the Ifako-Ijaye General Hospital, Lagos, Dr. Adefunmilayo Duro-Emmanuel, observed that Hepatitis is the irritation of the liver and could be caused by excessive use of alcohol, drugs, herbal medicine, concoction and other infections, like the Hepatitis B Virus.

The virus could be transmitted from one person to other through sexual intercourse, shared sharp object, child-delivery (mother-to-child) and so on.

The disease could be acute (symptomatic) or chronic (without symptoms) and the later poses more serious change to the caregivers.   Duro-Emmanuel noted that one out of every eight persons in the country already has the infection and already killing faster than the dreaded Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

She explained that where the disease is symptomatic, an infected person would have symptoms associated with malaria, yellow-colour eyes, and almost red-colour urine.    “A fews days latter, the liver becomes painful and swollen.

Too much stay of the virus can also lead to liver cancer. That is why everyone should go for the Hepatitis B Surface Antigen Test to prevent more serious effect and death,” she said.

The doctor also appealed to those tested negative to get the Hepatitis B vaccine from the nearest hospital, adding that it offers over 90 per cent protection guarantee for the next 10 to 20 years.

The commemorative outreach offered free screening and vaccination for over 250 beneficiaries that participated. The vaccine was discovered in 1993 and introduced into Nigeria in 2004.

Chairman NMA Health Committee, Dr. Dumebi Owa said the campaign was a wake up call on everyone, including the medical practitioners, to be on the lookout for Hepatitis among the patients that present with malaria symptoms.

Owa added that in a country where the government still lacks the will power to declare the vaccines free-for-all, the individuals must take up the responsibility to get themselves protected.



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