24 July, 2021

Dire Strains

Viral hepatitis is spreading, with stealth and silence, yet few are aware of it

Dire Strains
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

When a neighbour’s child died from a hepatitis C infection three years ago, some sixth sense told Poonam Khanna of Delhi to get her 12-year-old son Udit tested. Udit tested positive for hepatitis C, a result of transfusion of blood not screened for the virus. Says Poonam: "There were no outward symptoms but the doctor warned us it was infectious and could lead to liver failure." She ensured that her then seven-year-old younger son was careful about contact with his brother while she herself wore gloves when administering Interferon injections to Udit.

The sixth sense, however, cannot work always when most in India today are still unaware that viral hepatitis is a silent disease, that can turn into a killer, which is creeping up insidiously. Compared nowadays with HIV characteristics, those affected can remain carriers for life exhibiting no symptoms, yet infecting others who may develop the disease in its full-blown form. And it is not contracted through contaminated water, food or unhygienic conditions alone. Today, some of its strains are transmitted in a...

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