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DOHA: Several Hepatitis cases have been detected during a screening programme being conducted by the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) for early detection of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
The free screening at leading shopping centres has received good response from the public, with a number of nationals and expatriates undergoing the tests, the SCH said yesterday.
The screening is a part of a campaign launched by the SCH to raise public awareness about prevention and early detection of Hepatitis B and C. The infection could prove fatal if goes undetected in the right time.
The programme launched early this month has been extended in view of encouraging public response, Dr Mohammed Al Hajiri, Director Health Protection and Infectious Diseases department at SCH has said.
The next screening will take place at Hyatt Plaza premises from June 15 to June 17. Similar programmes were held at Katara cultural village early this month and at City Center over the past week end.
Highlighting importance of the screening programme, Al Hajiri said, many people who carry the Hepatitis virus may not be aware of the infection because it could lay dormant for several years, with out any clear symptoms.
Brochures and pamphlets to educate the public about the diseases as well as preventive measures have been distributed during the campaign.
The hepatitis C virus is spread by blood-to-blood contact. Most people have few, if any symptoms after the initial infection, yet the virus persists in the liver in about 85 per cent of those infected. Persistent infection can be treated with medication. Overall, 51 per cent are cured. Those who develop cirrhosis or liver cancer may require a liver transplant, and the virus universally recurs after the transplant takes place.
An estimated 270-300 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C. No vaccine against the virus is available..
Transmission of hepatitis B virus results from exposure to infectious blood or body fluids such as semen and vaginal fluids. However, Hepatitis B viruses cannot be spread by casual contact, such as holding hands, sharing eating utensils or drinking glasses, breast-feeding, kissing, hugging, coughing, or sneezing.
The acute illness causes liver inflammation, vomiting, jaundice and rarely, death. Chronic hepatitis B may eventually cause liver cirrhosis and liver cancer—a fatal disease with very poor response to current chemotherapy. The infection is preventable by vaccination.