Low screening increases Hepatitis virus burden

It is interesting to note that although the global mortality rates of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis have plummeted since 2008, the number of deaths owing to chronic HBV and HCV infections has persistently risen, with more than 1.4 million deaths occurring every year.
Representative image
Representative image

CHENNAI: Viral hepatitis has a substantial global prevalence. Hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV and HCV) are one of the top global infections along with HIV, malaria and tuberculosis in terms of mortality. It is interesting to note that although the global mortality rates of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis have plummeted since 2008, the number of deaths owing to chronic HBV and HCV infections has persistently risen, with more than 1.4 million deaths occurring every year.

Some of the measures to decrease the burden of viral hepatitis, include the implementation of universal Hepatitis B immunisation and antiviral treatment of highly viremic mothers infected with HBV to prevent vertical transmission; screening blood donors for HBV and HCV; safe injection practices; stringent infection-control programmes and antiviral treatments. In spite of vaccines for viral hepatitis being available, the global prevalence has not substantially declined mainly due to lack of screening. Also, in the case of HCV, where there is no vaccine, many studies have suggested that a test-and-screen strategy would be needed.

“Screening for hepatitis A is done by testing for hepatitis A virus (HAV) antibodies. The result of the antibody test shows the current or past infectivity and vaccination status of an individual. A negative test result indicates that the individual has never been infected or vaccinated with HAV and is still susceptible to HAV infection,” said Dr CN Srinivas, Head of Laboratory Services at SRL Diagnostics.

Doctors said that people who test positive for the antibody screening tests usually undergo additional tests. The most common follow-up test include qualitative or qualitative viral loads (RNA or DNA tests). However, insufficient diagnostic work-up remain a major challenge.

Visit news.dtnext.in to explore our interactive epaper!

Download the DT Next app for more exciting features!

Click here for iOS

Click here for Android

Related Stories

No stories found.
DT next
www.dtnext.in