Hepatitis deaths down in past

The number of deaths reported from hepatitis has seen a significant fall in the city over the past five years, while hepatitis cases have gradually risen over the same period, data obtained by NGO Praja under the Right To Information Act revealed.
According to figures sourced by Praja from the MCGM’s public health department, the death toll from hepatitis has reduced from 260 in 2008-09 to 163 in 2012-13. At the same time, there has been a noticeable and steady rise in the number of hepatitis cases recorded. In 2008-09, a total of 1,580 cases of hepatitis were recorded in the city, which rose to 2,939 in 2012-13.

The 163 hepatitis deaths recorded in the city in 2012-13 include 44 deaths due to Hepatitis B (B16) and 119 deaths due to other viral hepatitis (B15, B17-B19). The death toll was highest in 2010-11 with 324 cases being reported. The RTI information, however, pertained to only hepatitis A, B, C and E, and did not account for hepatitis D, F and G.

According to Milind Mhaske, Project Director with Praja, the data has been gathered from various municipal dispensaries, as well as municipal and state hospitals. “There are a few dispensaries and hospitals that have provided information of hepatitis cases, but in those cases, it is difficult to ascertain which type of hepatitis the patient had contracted,” he added.

Hepatitis is a condition in which the patient suffers from inflammation of liver. Dr Samir Shah, head of hepatology department at Institute of Liver diseases, said that a person suffering from hepatitis would not realise about the ailment for as long as 20 years, since the symptoms take time to surface. “Usually, blood recipients, surgical patients, people needing dialysis or people practicing unsafe sex are at a higher risk of contracting this disease,” Shah added.

From 2010, hepatitis A cases have accounted for the maximum incidents reported in the city each year.


The article appeared in The Indian Express on August 1st, 2013

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