Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hepatitis infections in Pakistan/ 7% suffering from Hepatitis C

7% Pakistanis suffering from Hepatitis C

ISLAMABAD: Almost 7.4 percent Pakistani population is suffering from Hepatitis B and C, including 4.9 percent suffering from Hepatitis C only, National Academy of Young Scientists (NAYS) President Aftab Ahmed told APP. He said around 20,000 to 40,000 people die of Hepatitis C annually in Pakistan. “The major source of Hepatitis C infection is use of used syringes,” he added. About 1.5 million blood or blood related product transfusions are conducted in Pakistan annually and hepatitis C infection is higher in multi-transfused population compared to normal population, he added. Ahmed said according to research studies, the prevalence of hepatitis C was much higher in intravenous drug users (IDUs) and in a study conducted in Lahore, 93% of IDUs were positive for hepatitis C. He said Hepatitis C was becoming a major killer disease in the world and also posed an increased burden on the economy of the developing countries, which had a large proportion of their population suffering from this disease.

A review of hepatitis viral infections in Pakistan

Altaf Bosan,Irtaza Ahmad,Rehan Hafiz ( National Institute of Health. ) Huma Qureshi ( Pakistan Medical Research Council. ) Khalif Mohamud Bile ( World Health Organization. )

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A review of published literature on viral hepatitis infections in Pakistan is presented. A total of 220 abstracts available in the Pakmedinet and Medline have been searched. All relevant articles were reviewed to determine the prevalence of hepatitis viral infections in Pakistan. Two hundred and three (203) relevant articles/abstracts including twenty nine supporting references are included in this review.

Of the articles on prevalence of hepatitis infection, seven were related to Hepatitis A, fifteen to Hepatitis E while the remaining articles were on frequency of hepatitis B and C in different disease and healthy population groups. These included eight studies on healthy children, three on vertical transmission, nineteen on pregnant women, fifteen on healthy individuals, six on army recruits, thirty one on blood donors, thirteen on health care workers, five on unsafe injections, seventeen on high risk groups, five on patients with provisional diagnosis of hepatitis, thirty three on patients with chronic liver disease, four on genotypes of HBV and five on genotypes of HCV.

This review highlights the lack of community-based epidemiological work as the number of subjects studied were predominantly patients, high risk groups and healthy blood donors.High level of Hepatitis A seroconversion was found in children and this viral infection accounts for almost 50%-60% of all cases of acute viral hepatitis in children in Pakistan. Hepatitis E is endemic in the country affecting mostly the adult population and epidemic situations have been reported from many parts of the country.The mean results of HBsAg and Anti-HCV prevalence on the basis of data aggregated from several studies was calculated which shows 2.3% and 2.5% prevalence of HBsAg and Anti-HCV in children, 2.5% and 5.2% among pregnant women, 2.6% and 5.3% in general population, 3.5% and 3.1% in army recruits, 2.4% and 3.6% in blood donors, 6.0% and 5.4% in health care workers, 13.0% and 10.3% in high risk groups, 12.3% and 12.0% in patients with provisional diagnosis of hepatitis and 25.7% and 54% in patients with chronic liver disease respectively.This review has illustrated the high endemicity of hepatitis viral infections in Pakistan where hepatitis B and C potentially account for a serious burden of the disease.

This review has triggered the launching of a network intervention for the control of hepatitis viral infectious.This review was used as the basis for the launch of hepatitis programme, but putting it into a formal review took time and the hepatitis program was initiated.

Correspondence: WHO Country Representative, World Health Organization, NIH premises, Chack Shahzad, Islamabad.

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