From Our Correspondent
SILCHAR, May 10: A Hepatitis B vaccition camp was organised by Bharatiya Ja Kalyan Samiti (BJKS) in Town High School here today in which around 400 people were vaccited against the dreaded disease.
The vaccition programme was conducted under the guidance of Dr. S Paul Choudhury, former joint director, Assam Health Services and chief advisor to BJKS, along with Dr. Pradip Kumar th. Other members of the Samiti present were Mainuddin Barbhuiya, Biplob Sharma, Jhor Rani Das, Amrit Sinha. On the occasion, Dr. S Paul Choudhury discussed about the dreaded disease.
He said Hepatitis B is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) which affects the liver. It can cause both acute and chronic infections. Many people have no symptoms during the initial infection. Some develop a rapid onset of sickness with vomiting, yellow skin, feeling tired, dark urine and abdomil 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. These complications results in the death of 15 to 25% of those with chronic disease, he added to say.
He further said that the transmission of hepatitis B virus results from exposure to infectious blood or body fluids containing blood. Possible forms of transmission include sexual contact, blood transfusions and transfusion with other human blood products, re-use of contamited needles and syringes, and vertical transmission from mother to child (MTCT) during childbirth.
Without intervention, a mother who is positive for HBV has a 20% risk of passing the infection to her offspring at the time of birth. Breastfeeding after proper immunoprophylaxis does not appear to contribute to MTCT of HBV. It is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV.
Dr. S Paul Choudhury gave a brief history regarding Hepatitis B. He said that the earliest record of an epidemic caused by hepatitis B virus was made by Lurman in 1885. An outbreak of smallpox occurred in Bremen in 1883 and 1,289 shipyard employees were vaccited with lymph from other people. After several weeks, and up to eight months later, 191 of the vaccited workers became ill with jaundice and were diagnosed as suffering from serum hepatitis. By the early 1980s the genome of the virus had been sequenced, and the first vaccines were being tested. As with all vaccines, there can be minor reactions, including pain and redness at the injection site, headache, fatigue or a vague feeling of discomfort.
He explained the gathering how people can be vaccited against the disease. He said the vaccition schedule most often used for adults and children has been three intramuscular injections, the second and third administered 1 and 6 months after the first. There is no confirmed evidence which indicates that hepatitis B vaccine can cause chronic illnesses. Annually over 4 crore people contract the dreaded disease worldwide, out of which about 10 lakh people succumb to it.