Number of HIV positive patients reporting at government hospitals has seen a gradual decline in past few years. However, there is another challenge for healthcare service providers: Prevalence of Hepatitis B among the patients has almost doubled in past four years.
As per data available with Maharaja Yeshwantrao Hospital (MYH), Hepatitis B infection among blood donors is posing a serious challenge. Hepatitis B prevalence which was 1% among the total blood donors, has now increased to 2% in past four years despite vaccination programme to curb the spread.
Ashok Yadav, in-charge of blood bank at MYH, said, “We have been collecting data of prevalence of Hepatitis B during blood donation at the blood bank. The data clearly suggests that out of total 17,800 blood donors, 2% are infected with the virus in this region. Five years back, it was 1%,” Yadav told TOI.
The figures projected by the blood bank of MYH are only the tip of the iceberg, feel the doctors. “Since the blood bank data is donor-based, it can not project the whole picture but surely the cases of Hepatitis B are on the rise. Comparing with the HIV, chances of Hepatitis B virus transmission is 30-40%. So, figures are alarming. However, Madhya Pradesh is among 5-6 states where immunization programme is running. The injections are available free of cost now,” said Dr Sanjay Dixit, head of community medicine department.
Report showed India has ‘intermediate endemicity’ of hepatitis B; with hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) prevalence between 2 and 10% among populations studied. The number of HBsAg carriers in India has been estimated to be over 4 crore.
The article appeared on December 3rd, 2013 in The Times of India.