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Hepatitis C May Soon Top Global Viral Deaths Cause

Hepatitis C May Soon Top Global Viral Deaths Cause

Recent data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates an alarming trend: hepatitis C is close to becoming the foremost cause of death among viral diseases worldwide, potentially surpassing hepatitis B. The latest figures reveal that, in 2022, hepatitis B and C together were responsible for 1.3 million deaths globally, signaling a critical need for heightened efforts to curb their spread.

Health experts caution that without prompt and effective intervention, deaths from hepatitis could eclipse those from major diseases like tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and malaria by 2040. Hepatitis C, in particular, poses a severe public health challenge due to its transmission through blood contact.

Read more: Hepatitis Cases Soar Above 3.9 Million in Punjab

The incidence of viral hepatitis is increasing, especially in lower-income countries where preventative measures and treatment options are scarce. Nonetheless, the rapid spread of the virus is also a concern in more affluent countries.

Among the top ten countries with the highest hepatitis case numbers are Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, the Philippines, Russia, and Vietnam. However, the threat of hepatitis C is a global concern, currently accounting for 83% of all hepatitis-related deaths, with hepatitis B responsible for the remaining 17%.

Symptoms of hepatitis include fatigue, jaundice, and nausea, which are critical for timely diagnosis and treatment. Hepatitis primarily spreads through contaminated blood transfusions, shared needles, and improperly sterilized medical equipment. Hepatitis B can also be transmitted from mother to child during childbirth.

Although vaccines exist for hepatitis B, many countries face challenges in ensuring broad access. Effective treatments are available for both hepatitis B and C, yet they remain out of reach for many affected individuals.

To combat the spread of hepatitis, initiatives must focus on enhancing access to vaccines, screening, and treatments. Tackling the fundamental transmission pathways and improving health infrastructure are vital steps toward reducing the impact of viral hepatitis and saving lives.