What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis delta is a hepatitis-induced liver infection. Virus (also known as HDV) causes the worst form of viral hepatitis known to humans. It is also a little virus known to infect humans. Hepatitis delta is different because it depends on the blood of hepatitis B (HBV) infection and reproduction in liver cells, so those already infected with hepatitis B are at greater risk of developing hepatitis delta.
Since the hepatitis delta test is not as accurate as it should be (everyone hepatitis B diagnosis is also expected to be tested for hepatitis delta), the exact number of people living with hepatitis delta is unknown. Some reports indicate 15-20 million people living with hepatitis delta worldwide, but other studies estimate that an estimated 60-70 million people may be living with hepatitis delta worldwide.
Co-Infection with Hepatitis
Infections with co-hepatitis B and hepatitis delta can cause liver disease far worse than just hepatitis B infection. These include the rapid progression of liver fibrosis (or cuts), a high risk of liver cancer, and the early onset of cirrhosis or liver failure.
There are two ways a person living with hepatitis B can get the hepatitis delta. Another is a concurrent infection, which occurs when a person is exposed to hepatitis B and the hepatitis delta. Another is an additional infection, which occurs when a person already has hepatitis B contracting hepatitis delta.
Joint infections are rare and will usually manifest themselves within six months but can sometimes cause very serious or fatal liver failure. The high disorder is pervasive and is the cause of severe liver diseases. 90% of people with superinfection will develop chronic (lifelong) hepatitis B and hepatitis delta infections, 70% of which will progress to cirrhosis. This compares with only 15-20% of chronic hepatitis B infections.
Transfer and prevention
The hepatitis delta can be transmitted similarly to hepatitis B through exposure to infected blood or body fluids. This often happens by sharing equipment for hygiene and body modifications, such as bones, piercings, or cuts; informal health care practices; sharing needles, injections, or other injectable drug use. Although hepatitis B virus is usually transmitted from mothers to their babies during childbirth, it is believed that transmission of hepatitis delta by this route is rare. Since hepatitis delta cannot be diagnosed on its own, only persons already infected with hepatitis B or at high risk of contracting both viruses at the same time can get hepatitis delta.
The hepatitis delta vaccine does not exist, but fortunately, the hepatitis B vaccine also protects against hepatitis delta! As with hepatitis B, family members who are partners of people living with hepatitis delta should also receive a hepatitis B vaccine to significantly reduce their chances of getting hepatitis B and hepatitis delta. For people who have been infected with chronic hepatitis B, the best way to protect themselves from hepatitis is to avoid potential blood transfusions.
All people diagnosed with hepatitis B should also be tested for hepatitis delta. A simple blood test. A doctor can treat hepatitis – it is hazardous if a person does not know they have it, which makes it very important to get tested!
Who is at Risk
If you have chronic hepatitis B, you are at risk for hepatitis delta. Populations at risk of hepatitis delta include:
- People with chronic hepatitis B infections are at risk of HCV infection.
- People not vaccinated against hepatitis B
- People who inject themselves with drugs.
- Aboriginal people and persons infected with hepatitis C or HIV.
- Receivers of hemodialysis.
- People from countries or areas where there is a high prevalence of hepatitis delta.
Many of the most well-known areas have a high incidence of hepatitis delta, including Mongolia, the Republic of Moldova, and Western countries.
The only way you can find out is that you or your loved ones are one of the Missing millions in one a Hepatitis B and C. Testing.
Worldwide, 325 million people have hepatitis B and hepatitis C – a potentially fatal disease. The Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) has a high incidence of Hepatitis B (17.5 million) and C (16 million). Unfortunately, Egypt and Pakistan carry about 80% of the burden of disease.
Hepatitis is one of the leading sources of death worldwide, killing 4,000 people every day. Hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) become incurable diseases in about 80% of patients and contribute to illness and death. For those who suffer from Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C for a long time, these viruses can cause liver cancer. According to a recent report by the Shaukat Khanum Collective Cancer Registry Report, liver cancer is among the top five cancers seen in adults in its facilities since 1994.
Sadly, 290 of the 325 million (9 out of 10 people worldwide) are unaware that they live with cirrhosis of the liver. In Pakistan, 86% of people who have HBV or HCV still do not know about their infection the risk of transmitting the disease to colleagues and their families. This is because there are very few signs and symptoms of chronic hepatitis. You could get it from a birth transmission to your mother, or you may have called it through unsafe injections, sharing a razor, or having contact with infected blood. Second, there are many reasons why the disease is so prevalent in a developing country like Pakistan that does not have a proper health care system. There are no effective pregnancy testing programs or ways to ensure that all babies are vaccinated against HBV.
However, this situation is far from ideal. A timely diagnosis can save lives. There is a cure for Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B vaccines and treatments. All WHO member states are committed to reducing global mortality related to hepatitis by 65% and new infections by 20% by 2030 worldwide, eradicating the virus hepatitis vaccine appropriately. To achieve this, an important step is to recover the lost millions with the help of efforts provided by all stakeholders, including health professionals, patients, the media, and policymakers.
Unfortunately, globally, some challenges prevent people from getting diagnosed and tested, such as lack of access to testing, stigma and discrimination, social ignorance, and costs. Despite these challenges, each country must give people access to testing and treatment, or else, access to the goals of elimination will remain a dream. As adopted by the National Hepatitis Strategic Framework NHSF of Pakistan 2017-2021, the entire hepatitis C screening system is weakened in our country due to insufficient organizational and provincial data, critical to developing and implementing effective strategies to fight the disease.