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A virus deadlier than HIV

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For a cause: School and college students participate in a rally organised to spread awareness of Hepatitis infection in Chennai on Saturday. —
For a cause: School and college students participate in a rally organised to spread awareness of Hepatitis infection in Chennai on Saturday. —

Special Correspondent

Rally, camp to create awareness of Hepatitis B, C conducted

CHENNAI: A rally and a free blood test camp were held at the Marina on Saturday to create awareness of the spread of Hepatitis B and C infections.

Mayor M. Subramanian flagged off the rally and launched the camp organised by MedIndia Hospitals. He was also the first one to be tested for the infection. “According to World Health Organisation, every 12th person in the world is a carrier of the virus. While there are vaccines to cure the B infection, the virus that spreads Hepatitis C kills four times more people than even HIV,” said T.S. Chandrasekar, hospital founder.

The hospital is observing Hepatitis Awareness Week as part of an ongoing movement initiated by World Hepatitis Alliance. The theme for this year’s World Hepatitis Day, observed on Tuesday, was ‘Am I number 12?’

Hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver caused by various viruses, seriously damages the liver and can eventually lead to hospitalisation, liver cancer and liver transplantation. “Most people are unaware that they are carriers of the infection as they remain asymptomatic. Hepatitis C spreads through blood, body fluid, sexual contact and unsterilised instruments used for piercing ears or tonsuring. Transfusion of blood and blood products are other routes for the transmission of the virus,” Dr. Chandrasekar said.

“The cure rate is 80 to 85 per cent but the infection itself is preventable. Blood tests would enable to find asymptomatic persons and treat them,” he said.

Anyone who has had jaundice, whose family members have had the disease, who have had invasive procedures, have asthma or are using insulin injections to control diabetes should get tested, he said.

About 500 people were screened at Saturday’s camp. Those who underwent the test were provided cards that would allow them to approach the hospital for a master liver check up.

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