- Hepatitis B is a potentially life threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus.
- In Uganda, the prevalence of hepatitis B is 10% in the general population. Areas mostly affected are Northern, Eastern, Karamoja and Kasese.
- Hepatitis B is 100 times more infections than HIV and can survive for 7 days outside the body.
- Transmission is mainly through blood contact with a person or objects with the hepatitis B virus. These include mother to child during birth giving, sexual transmission and use of contaminated injections.
- In acute cases, the symptoms include yellow discoloration of eyes, dark urine, pale stool, low appetite, abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting and fever.
- In chronic cases, there are no symptoms.
- Note that hepatitis B Virus is NOT spread by contaminated food or water.
- Note that hepatitis B Virus is NOT spread through casual contact in the workplace.
- In acute cases, supportive treatment is given.
- In chronic cases, anti retroviral drugs are given for 2 years to reduce the number of viruses.
- The mainstay of hepatitis B prevention is HEPATITIS B VACCINE.
- Completed doses are in three phases at start, 1 month after and 6 months after 1st
- Protection is up to 95% for 10 years and more.
- Vaccination is for all children below 18 years who have not been vaccinated before.
- Vaccination is also for all adults born before 2003 who have not been vaccinated before.
“Liver cancer is almost always fatal. It develops in people when they are most productive and have family responsibilities. Most Ugandan die within months of its diagnosis.”
For more information on hepatitis B vaccination please contact
Dr. Okullo Robert Obuku