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Hepatitis B is 100 times more infectious than HIV, Expert warns

Hepatitis B is 100 times more infectious than HIV, Expert warns

A consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist  with the Godfrey Okoye University Teaching Hospital (GOUNTH), Enugu, Dr Adiri Winfred, has warned that Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) is 100 times more infectious than HIV.

Winfred gave the warning while educating some Enugu residents on the dangers of Hepatitis, especially that of B and C, organised by GOUNTH and sponsored by Emzor Vaccines in commemoration of “2023 World Hepatitis Day”, with the theme “One Life, One Liver”, on Tuesday in Enugu.

The Voice Media Trust (VMT NEWS) reports that the participants were offered free Hepatitis test.

She described the hepatitis B as dangerous due to the fact that it had no cure, adding that its treatment was to reduce the virus.

The expert said the available drugs cannot eradicate the virus, stressing that one thing about it is “when integrated into patient’s DNA, it becomes difficult for eradication.

“The drug we have can reduce the viral load of the patient from having liver cirrhosis and liver cancer that seemed to be the rising issue in our environment.

“A lot of people have died from the complications arising from Hepatitis B virus and that is why we are advocating that governments should aid patients down with the virus.

“This free screening will help to enlighten those with symptoms of Hepatitis B to come for treatment,” she said.

Winfred further explained that Hepatitis B virus can be transmitted through exposure to infective blood, sex, and other body fluids, infected mothers to infants at the time of birth, from family member to infants in early childhood.

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Others are through transfusions of contaminated blood, use of contaminated injections during medical procedures, and through injecting drug use, playing with sharp objects and clipper.

“The symptoms of acute and chronic  hepatitis B include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-coloured stools, joint pain, and jaundice,” she said.

She, however, advised Nigerians on the need for hepatitis B vaccination to prevent the virus.

Earlier in a welcome address, the Chief Medical Director of GOUNTH, Prof Cajethan Nwadinigwe, said the exercise was a partnership/public enlightenment and Screening programme.

He said the GOUNTH had a mandate like any other teaching hospitals in the country to treat patients through curative and preventive ways.

“That is why we are emphasizing on the issue of health talks, people examining their systems to make sure that any preventable ailments in our environment get the desired awareness.

“Detecting them early is very advantageous and as teaching hospital, we are at the fore front of disseminating this information to citizens because if they are healthy, they are going to be more productive and help to develop this country.

“That is why we are partnering with every stakeholder that will help us deliver on our mandate,” he said.

He added that the exercise would be an annual event, stressing that the crowd at the hospital defied all odds to be tested of hepatitis free of charge.

VMT NEWS also reports that World Hepatitis Day is being celebrated every July 28 to raise awareness about viral hepatitis.

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