World Hepatitis Day, which was held on July 28, is an opportunity to raise public awareness and highlight screening and treatment options for the disease. Less than 5% of patients are affected. Here are some key facts about hepatitis.
- Hepatitis is an inflammation of liver that can progress to fibrosis a cirrhosis or a cancer . It may be due to alcohol abuse or the use of certain drugs in cases of toxic hepatitis, but hepatitis may be viral.
- There are 5 types of hepatitis viruses identified by letters A, B, C, D and E. They all cause liver diseases, they are not transmitted in the same way.
- Type B and C viruses lead to chronic diseases in hundreds of millions of people. Alone, they cause the greatest number of liver cirrhosis and cancers.
- Hepatitis B and C are often spread through unprotected sex, drug injections, or questionable medical practices.
- The symptoms of hepatitis B and C may not occur for years. 60% of liver cancers are due to late detection of hepatitis B or viral C.
After incubation, the acute phase of the disease is often asymptomatic (90% of cases). For others, the signs may be liver pain, dark urine, nausea, vomiting, and jaundice, which may last more than a month.
After the episode of contamination by the hepatitis C virus, the patient enters the acute phase. During this period, 80% of infected individuals do not experience any symptoms. After 6 months of infection, the patent goes to the chronic phase. The most common symptoms are loss of appetite, muscle and joint pain, weight loss and fatigue, but also insomnia, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, gray stools and jaundice. .
- An estimated 257 million people live with hepatitis B. In 2015, this disease caused 887,000 deaths. 71 million people suffer from chronic hepatitis C. It causes approximately 399,000 deaths each year.
- There is no vaccine against hepatitis C but antivirals can cure 95% of infected people in two or three months and reduce the fatal risk of cancer and cirrhosis . Sometimes the patient's immune system eliminates the infection. The liver of some people with chronic infection remains spared.