New Delhi: With over 75 per cent of people in India being unaware about the existence of Hepatitis, the leading gastroenterologists of the country have decided to start an online data registry detailing the rising number of hepatitis patients.
"The need of setting up a registry was felt as over 75 per cent of the people in India do not even know that a disease like hepatitis exists," said a senior doctor at AIIMS.
"The aim is to keep a record of the number of people suffering from hepatitis and other liver diseases caused by it in the country," the doctor said.
The registry will be part of the newly formed Indian National Association for Study of Liver and Current Perspective in Liver Disease constituted by the leading gastroenterologists of the country.
The association will also disseminate information to the regional hospitals and help the health centers located in remote areas of the country get the medicine supply.
Talking about lack of awareness about the deadly disease, the experts said that Hepatitis was 28 times more dangerous than AIDS due to the absence of symptoms, even as the disease spreads gradually in the patient.
Four lakh people die due to liver diseases, a result of hepatitis, in India every year. The states most affected by the disease are Punjab, Haryana, Odisha, Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh among few others, they said.
"75 per cent of the hepatitis, may it be B or C, is curable at the initial stage. However, as the symptoms are not felt, the person gets to know about it only when the virus causes liver cancer," said SK Acharya, head of Gastroenterology at AIIMS.
Through the registry, Acharya said, the hot spots of Hepatitis across the country can be brought into lime light and accordingly medical healthcare in those areas can be improved, precisely the treatment for liver diseases.
Dr Rakesh Agarwal noted that pregnant women are more likely to get Hepatitis E virus infection which may result in Acute Liver Failure (ALF).