Campo Grande (MS)- THE World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 5 million people in Brazil are living with chronic hepatitis B and C, the silent disease that causes inflammation in the liver, which may evolve to cirrhosis and even cancer if there is treatment. In Mato Grosso do Sul, between the years of 2007 and 2013 were reported to the whole more than 3.4 thousand cases of hepatitis B and C. On the 28th of July, in the World Day of Fight Against Viral Hepatitis, the State Secretariat of Health (SES) takes advantage of the date to alert on the symptoms that can be confused, in the beginning, with a strong flu.Of the five types of viral hepatitis – A, B, C, D and E – the most common in the country are the A, B, and C.
The first symptoms of the disease are fatigue, dizziness, craving of vomit, pain in the region of the liver, fever, body yellowish, especially in the eyes, dark urine and stool white.
Considered a public health problem in Brazil and in the world, hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver and can be caused by a virus or by a reaction of the body to substances such as drugs, alcohol, and other drugs. The disease can also develop from autoimmune diseases such as AIDS, as well as metabolic or genetic diseases. Most common in Brazil, hepatitis A, B and C are transmitted in different ways and also present different treatment and healing possibilities among them. There are also the most common D and E viruses in Africa and Asia. According to the Ministry of Health, millions of people in Brazil are carriers of the virus B or C, but they do not know they have the disease, which can be extremely dangerous to health.
For hepatitis a, transmitted through contaminated food and by contact direct with people infected by the virus, there is a vaccine, but the cost is high which makes the immunization less accessible to the population. Consumption of raw or undercooked seafood can also be a source of contagion, as well as saliva, so it is recommended to avoid sharing personal objects such as toothbrush. Although it is the least severe form of the disease, in order to live with infected people it is necessary to use a medication, immunoglobulin, which should be prescribed by the doctor.
Among the symptoms of hepatitis A, which may appear more or less 30 days after contamination, are fever, malaise, fatigue, headache, nausea and diarrhoea; very common manifestations of flu and therefore the importance of seeking adequate treatment. After contamination with the virus, the individual may still have yellowish eyes and skins, dark urine and light stools.
Hepatitis B. In virus B, transmission takes place through sexual contact – through secretions or body fluids and also through contaminated blood-by injections or wounds caused by contaminated material, such as nail pliers, and by treatment with blood derivatives, such as transfusion. By saliva, the disease is not transmitted. The disease can also be transmitted from the mother to the baby during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.
The virus may take years to reveal the first symptom of the disease and, without treatment, the patient may have serious liver problems. Children over five years old and adults are more likely to manifest symptoms. However, hepatitis B can also disappear on its own, even without treatment. The development of this virus may be acute or chronic, the acute form being short-lived and the chronic May last more than six months. Children are the most affected in chronic form, and can reach 90% the risk in individuals less than one year old.
Symptoms resemble hepatitis A, such as fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, joint pain and jaundice (yellow skin and eyes). For this virus there is also a vaccine available.
Transmitted by blood, as in the use of contaminated syringes, the hepatitis C virus has low transmission by sex or secretions and body fluids, but there are exceptions in cases involving HIV carriers. According to the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, although the virus has already been found in saliva, contamination by kissing is also unlikely, unless there are wounds. But it is still important not to share razor and hair blades, toothbrushes or other objects that pierce or cut such as nail pliers.
From the mother to the baby the chance of contamination can happen, but it is rare, even in breastfeeding, since for the contagion there must be wound both in the breast and in the mouth of the child. Without a vaccine, hepatitis C is the most severe among viruses, with an 80% chance of becoming chronic after it is contracted. The onset of symptoms is very rare, but tiredness, dizziness, feeling sick, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, yellowing skin and eyes may appear, as well as dark urine and light stools.
Because it is a silent disease, it is important to keep an eye on symptoms and do routine tests that can detect all forms of hepatitis. The sooner the diagnosis for any of the viruses, the greater the chances of healing.