Vaccination against Hepatitis A need of hour

June 26, 2013 Off By Web Desk

HYDERABAD: The healthcare specialists in the country have stressed upon the need of vaccination against Hepatitis A especially in children, as it is one of the most frequent infectious liver diseases affecting children worldwide. Hepatitis A is a viral liver disease that can cause mild to severe illness with an estimated 1.4 million cases globally every year.

The hepatitis A virus is transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and water or through direct contact with an infectious person.

It is amazing that people don’t pay attention to get their children and themselves vaccinated against it despite the fact that it can sometimes cause acute liver failure ALF, a severe life threatening with high mortality.

It is worth adding that in Pakistan many children die every minute from vaccine preventable diseases like diphtheria, Hepatitis A and B, measles, Pertussis, tetanus, and typhoid, this is due to the reason that our public is not motivated or probably not well informed to get themselves & their families vaccinated.

“This is a very careless attitude at our end as we find time and finances to buy expensive dresses & eat expensive food, but we are reluctant to spend money on vaccination which can keep us all healthy and prevent us from suffering from diseases like Hepatitis A and its well known complications,” said Dr. Salma Shaikh of Liaquat Medical University of Health Sciences.

While citing the current state of this disease in the United States, she said that Hepatitis A still occurs in US though not as frequently as it once did. ‘Over the last 20 years, there has been more than 90% decrease in Hepatitis A cases in US, and many experts believe that this decline is a result of the vaccination of children and people at risk for Hepatitis A,’ she added.
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver and since the liver is a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood, and fights infections; its function can be affected if it is damaged or inflamed. It can take weeks or months for people recovering from the illness to return to work, school or daily life. In around 15% of people this infection can take a relapsing course with symptoms lasting from three to six months. It does not result in chronic liver disease but can potentially result in Fulminant liver failure and death in children

‘The Hepatitis A vaccine is safe and very effective, only two shots are required six months apart, as both shots are needed for long term protection,’ she said. ‘It is really sad to miss out on such effective prevention and risk exposure of our children and adolescents to this disease which is especially common in countries like Pakistan where personal hygiene is not ideal, water is not safe and sanitary conditions are poor,’ she added.