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    Sunday, 31 July 2016

    NBSZ warns against Hepatitis B


    GWERU –
    The National Blood Service of Zimbabwe (NBSZ) is warning citizens over the increase in the spread of Hepatitis B.
    In an interview with The Mirror, NBSZ Gweru Head Lloyd Kawondera said that hepatitis is an infection of the liver caused by the Hepatitis B Virus and is found in the blood.
    Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). Hepatitis B is transmitted when blood, semen, or another body fluid from a person infected with the Hepatitis B virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. This can happen through sexual contact; sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment; or from mother to baby at birth.
    For some people, hepatitis B is an acute, or short-term, illness but for others, it can become a long-term, chronic infection. Risk for chronic infection is related to age at infection: approximately 90% of infected infants become chronically infected, compared with 2%–6% of adults. Chronic Hepatitis B can lead to serious health issues, like cirrhosis or liver cancer.
    Hepatitis B prevalence is highest in sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia, where between 5–10% of the adult population is chronically infected.
    High rates of chronic infections are also found in the Amazon and the southern parts of eastern and central Europe. In the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent, an estimated 2–5% of the general population is chronically infected. Less than 1% of the population of Western Europe and North America is chronically infected.
    NBSZ test for HIV, Hepatits B and C and Syphillis.
    Kawondera said that young people are only worried about HIV but they should also prevent themselves from Hepatitis B.
    "It is not only HIV that young people should be worried about but hepatitis can be transferred sexually," said Kawondera.
    NBSZ is urging citizens to avoid drug abuse as it can damage the liver leading to hepatitis, sharing clothes, tooth brush and bathing towels.
    The Mirror has learnt that hepatitis can be prevented by seeking early medical attention, being cautious about alcohol, avoiding taking unprescribed drugs, practicing safe sex and people should be regularly tested to check on their liver.
    The diseases can also be prevented through vaccination.
    Signs and symptoms of hepatitis includes headache, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, stomach pains, fatigue and joint pains.
    Hepatitis B can be noted through yellow coloration of the eyes, skin and mucous membrane, dark urine, clay colored faeces, hepatomegaly and enlargement of neck lymph nodes.
    NBSZ is encouraging citizens to be smart and to get tested.
    "I encourage residents to practice hygiene, to get tested in order to know their status and to quickly seek for medical attention as the disease can be cured," said Kawondera.
    The best way to prevent Hepatitis B is by getting vaccinated The Mirror has learnt.
    A vaccine against hepatitis B has been available since 1982. The vaccine is 95% effective in preventing infection and the development of chronic disease and liver cancer due to hepatitis B.
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