Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Hepatitis Virus easily Transferred to Babies by Positive mothers
``But if given vaccination at birth, the incidence is reduced to 20 per cent. The vaccine reduces the chances of becoming chronic carriers,” he said.
He said that Hepatitis B could not cross from mother to baby during pregnancy because the virus was too big.
``It cannot cross through the placenta, The transfer can only take place through the process of delivery.
``It is contagious and can be transferred through blood product. One can get the virus through blood transfusion, sexual intercourse, and sharing of needles, among others,'' he said.
According to him, hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most commonly caused by a viral infection.
He said although there were five types of hepatitis; A, B, C, D and E, ``the most common ones are A, B and C''.
He advised pregnant women visiting hospitals for ante-natal to be routinely tested for hepatitis B virus.
Obendek said pregnant women did not go for hepatitis test in some health facilities because it was not part of their ante-natal investigation.
He said that about 400 million people worldwide were Hepatitis positive, adding that the major problem with the virus was that some people might have it without knowing.
``This is because they are not symptomatic but carriers, hence they can easily give it out, just like HIV.''
He also said that in some cases, hepatitis B virus would not manifest immediately as an acute infection, and as a result, some people could retain the virus as chronic carriers.
Obendek further said that if it became chronic, it could lead to destruction of the liver, cancer of the liver and death.
He, therefore, advised that every health centre running ante-natal care should screen pregnant women for hepatitis virus because of its long term effect. (NAN)