IBADAN – A consultant gastroenterologist, University of Ibadan, Dr Adegboyega Akere, said on Thursday that Hepatitis was the fourth leading cause of death in African countries.
Akere, who made the disclosure at the Public Health outreach organised by the department of Medicine, University College Hospital (UCH), in Ibadan, said 250 people were screened during the outreach.
He said the World Health Assembly in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) fixed July 28 as the world hepatitis day, noting that 2014 theme is “Hepatitis: Think Again”.
“July 28 was the birth day of Prof. Baruch Bloomberg, who first discovered the virus which was then known and called Australian antigen.
“The UN named the day in honour of the birth day of the professor.”
“This Health outreach was to create awareness among the people in the community and government, so they could give same attention accorded HIV virus to the disease.
“The prevalence rate of Hepatitis B in Nigeria now stands at 11.2 per cent and is usually caused by unscreened blood or blood products, contaminated needles and sharp objects, Female Genital Mutilation, tattoo, scarification and sexual transmission.
“It is also caused by vertical transmission that is: From mother to unborn child and by horizontal transmission, that is through grazing of sores from one child to another,” he said.
The consultant explained that Hepatitis-B was common in Africa and usually manifests through general weakness of the body, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and yellow discoloration of the eyes.
He said those who tested positive to the disease were referred to the Medical out Patient Department of UCH for treatment while those who tested negative were advised to go for free immunisation.
He said if hepatitis-B was not properly treated, it could lead to liver complications and cancer of the liver.
Akere enjoined people to go for regular screening and immunisation. (NAN)