Hepatitis affects about 350 people globally. It also affects over 20 million Nigerians. Despite the scary statistic, there are still quite a number of misleading myths about hepatitis. This can lead to all sorts of problems.
Read on and be better informed.
Myth 1: Hepatitis is just hepatitis.
Fact: Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E are different viruses. They have different modes of transmission and clinical manifestations.
Hepatitis A and E are transmitted by ingesting contaminated food while Hepatitis B and C are transmitted by blood transfusion, unprotected sex, tattoos, sharing needles/razors, etc.
Hepatitis D only occurs in patients with Hepatitis B.
Myth 2: All patients with hepatitis have jaundice.
Fact: The absence of jaundice does not rule out acute hepatitis. Sometimes, acute hepatitis can present itself with symptoms such as fever, vomiting, poor appetite, and lethargy.
Myth 3: Overcoming one type of hepatitis leads to immunity from other forms.
Fact: Patients with Hepatitis A will get lifelong protection against hepatitis A only. They can still be at risk of infection from other forms of hepatitis like B, C, and E.
Myth 4: Hepatitis virus cannot survive outside the human body.
Fact: The Hepatitis B virus is 50-100 times more infectious than HIV. It can also survive in dried blood for up to 7 days. The hepatitis C virus can survive on surfaces for up to 16 hours.
Myth 5: Vaccines are available to treat all types of Hepatitis virus.
Fact: Vaccines are available to treat Hepatitis A and B only.
In conclusion: myths about Hepatitis are dangerous; it is not a joke. In fact, Hepatitis is deadlier than HIV and may not show symptoms for years if it is not tested. This can cause extensive damage. It is very important that you take preventive measures if you do the following:
- Participate in risky behaviours like casual sex, sharing personal items, drug use, etc.
- Work in places like nursing homes, dormitories, day-care centres.
- Work in places where you have extended contact with other people and are at risk of coming into contact with the disease.
Finally, get tested.
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