serious public health problem

Hepatitis is a disease that inflames the liver (especially the liver parenchyma) and can be caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, autoimmune diseases, excessive alcohol consumption, and toxins.

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 57% of cases of cirrhosis and 78% of cases of primary liver cancer are caused by the hepatitis B and C viruses. Likewise, an estimated 325 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis, including 7 million in the United States with chronic hepatitis C and approximately 4 million with chronic hepatitis B, resulting in an annual mortality rate of nearly 125,000.

Adhere to the vaccination schedule

Dr. Adriana Gamboa, physician and gastroenterologist at the Piedra Azul Clinic, explains that there are seven types of viral hepatitis: A, B, C, D, E, F and G, each with a different mechanism of transmission. “The most common and most studied are A, B, and C.

In the case of hepatitis A, the virus enters through the mouth (fecal-oral) when an uninfected person ingests water or food contaminated with the feces of an infected person. In this sense, the main risk factor is poor hygiene measures. Hand washing and food hygiene are the best protection against the hepatitis A virus.

Experts pointed out that the vaccination program implemented in Venezuela includes the hepatitis A vaccine, which must be given in the first year of life, and the second dose must be given within 6 months to a year after the first dose of the vaccine. “If the person has not been vaccinated against hepatitis A, recommend that they get vaccinated, regardless of their age,” advises Dr. Gamboa.

Emphasize the importance of the hepatitis B vaccine, which should be given at birth; a second dose at two months and a third dose at six months. Experts at the Piedra Azul clinic warn that the mechanism of transmission of hepatitis B is through blood or sex, so anyone at high risk who has not been vaccinated against this type of hepatitis should be vaccinated, as are health personnel, people who have promiscuous sex and do not use condoms ; those who share needles, toothbrushes, or razors; and those who get tattooed in non-certified venues.

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