Hepatitis B the sixth most common cause of death at the NRH
Dr. Jackson Rakei National Program Director of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services confirmed this during World Hepatitis Day today in Honiara
“In the Western Pacific region hepatitis B is estimated to stand at 20 percent and hepatitis C at 1 percent, approximately one out of every five people in the Solomon Islands has hepatitis B,” Dr. Rakei said.
Dr. Jackson Rakei said an estimated 53,000 to 79,000 are living with hepatitis B in the country.
Hepatitis B is currently ranked as the sixth most common cause of death at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) and ranked fourth in all causes of cancer in the country.
Dr. Rakei said a total of 90 chronic hepatitis B patients are currently registered at the hospital.
“Out of the 90 patients registered 27 are on treatment, while the rest are not on treatment due to loss of follow up because of geographical location, patients advanced with decomposed liver while others opt for herbal and custom medicines,” he said
He confirmed out of the 27 patients on treatment, four have died due to end-stage liver complications.
He added, the Ministry has included the hepatitis program into the STI/HIV national strategic plan 2019-2023 which is supported by the World Health Organization in efforts to curb hepatitis B diseases.
“The ministry will be rolling out a program in three priority areas for the elimination of hepatitis in the country,” the Health’s National Program Director said.
Testing for hepatitis is done at NRH and most provincial laboratories.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hepatitis B is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) that affects the liver; it is a type of viral hepatitis. It can causeboth acute and chronic infection. Many people have no symptoms during the initial infection. In acute infection, some may develop a rapid onset of sickness with vomiting, yellowish skin, tiredness, dark urine, and abdominal pain. Often these symptoms last a few weeks and rarely does the initial infection result in death. It may take 30 to 180 days for symptoms to begin. In those who get infected around the time of birth 90% develop chronic hepatitis B while less than 10% of those infected after the age of five do. Most of those with chronic disease have no symptoms; however, cirrhosis and liver cancer may eventually develop. Cirrhosis or liver cancer occur in about 25% of those with chronic disease.
The virus is transmitted by exposure to infectious blood or body fluids. Infection around the time of birth or from contact with other people's blood during childhood is the most frequent method by which hepatitis B is acquired in areas where the disease is common. In areas where the disease is rare, intravenous drug use and sexual intercourse are the most frequent routes of infection. Other risk factors include working in healthcare, blood transfusions, dialysis, living with an infected person, travel in countries where the infection rate is high, and living in an institution. Tattooing and acupuncture led to a significant number of cases in the 1980s; however, this has become less common with improved sterilization. The hepatitis B viruses cannot be spread by holding hands, sharing eating utensils, kissing, hugging, coughing, sneezing, or breastfeeding. The infection can be diagnosed 30 to 60 days after exposure. The diagnosis is usually confirmed by testing the blood for parts of the virus and for antibodies against the virus. It is one of five main hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D, and E.
The infection has been preventable by vaccination since 1982. Vaccination is recommended by the World Health Organization in the first day of life if possible. Two or three more doses are required at a later time for full effect. This vaccine works about 95% of the time. About 180 countries gave the vaccine as part of national programs as of 2006. It is also recommended that all blood be tested for hepatitis B before transfusion, and that condoms be used to prevent infection. During an initial infection, care is based on the symptoms that a person has. In those who develop chronic disease, antiviral medication such as tenofovir or interferon may be useful; however, these drugs are expensive. Liver transplantation is sometimes used for cirrhosis.
About a third of the world population has been infected at one point in their lives. At least 391 million people, or 5% of the world's population, had chronic HBV infection as of 2017. While another 145 million cases of acute HBV infection occurred that year. Over 750,000 people die of hepatitis B each year. About 300,000 of these are due to liver cancer. The disease is most common in the Western Pacific (6.2%) and African (6.1%) regions. In Europe rates are 1.6% and in the Americas they are 0.7%. It was originally known as "serum hepatitis".