Hepatitis A, E risks increases by rain

Published: August 26, 2018
A man rides an electric bike as a pedestrian carries an umbrella during a heavy rain storm in Beijing. PHOTO: REUTERS

A man rides an electric bike as a pedestrian carries an umbrella during a heavy rain storm in Beijing. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: With the advent of the monsoon season and in the aftermath of rains, water from overflowing gutters seeps into water tanks of homes and supply lines of reservoirs contaminating the water which is the leading cause of diseases such as hepatitis A and E .

Medical experts have advised public to take precautions against hepatitis A and E viruses during the rainy season due to the intake of contaminated food and water.

Hepatologist Dr Umair Qayyum said there is an urgent need to create awareness about hepatitis, which is also a called a silent killer virus that can creep into the body from minor blood exposures.

He said contaminated water generates the virus causing hepatitis A and E as the water is contaminated with faeces during monsoon season, and if someone drinks such water without boiling or distilling, one is likely to be infected with hepatitis.

“Virus is transmitted when an uninfected person consumes contaminated food or water. So one must be very carefully during monsoon, one must drink boiled water and eat foods washed in purified water,” cautions Dr Qayyum.

“If a patient feels lazy and has unusually very yellow urine, then know that these are the symptoms of hepatitis. Some may also suffer from constipation or diarrhoea, and pain in joints. However, tests are necessary to find out the type of hepatitis,” the hepatologist said.

To prevent oneself from acquiring hepatitis A and E viruses, one must take care of their health.

Dr Qayyum pointed out, “One must consume water and food that aren’t contaminated. Personal hygiene and sanitation must be maintained. One must be aware of one’s responsibility for their health.

He adds that there has been an increase in the incidence of Hepatitis A among teenagers and adults with severe symptoms that are similar to other viral hepatitis.

“Children and adults who have been previously vaccinated against hepatitis A are practically at very low risk of developing the infection. However, those who have not been vaccinated, people with poor hygiene and people living with an infected individual are at high risk of acquiring the Hepatitis A infection.”  

Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2018.

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