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Lack of awareness drives rise in hepatitis B cases in Vietnam

English.news.cn   2013-03-13 18:25:20            

HANOI, March 13 (Xinhua) -- The number of Vietnamese people suffering from the hepatitis B virus (HBV) is on the rise, with the majority being hospitalized when their condition becomes serious, local Vietnam News reported on Wednesday, quoting Chairman of the Vietnam Association for the Study of Liver Diseases Dinh Quy Lan as saying.

According to the association's latest statistics, in 2012 averagely 35 Vietnamese people were diagnosed with hepatitis B every day, double the number recorded in 2011.

Currently, 20 percent of the country's total population ( estimated at over 88.7 million as of January this year) has suffered from the virus, with 40 percent of patients facing a risk of developing liver cancer.

The problems are exacerbated by the fact that there is very little education about prevention and self-diagnosis of the virus and unlike for other diseases, the country does not have a specific program to stop HBV, said the association chairman.

According to the association, only 25 percent of the new-born babies receive the vaccination on their first day after birth despite the vaccine needing to be injected as soon as possible for the best effect.

HBV is often transmitted through blood when people share things such as a tooth brush or a syringe with others. It can also be spread through unprotected sexual intercourse.

Symptoms include tiredness, loss of appetite, struggle sleeping and unusually yellow urine. Often, people put these down to stress or hard work and do not go to hospital.

Insiders advised spreading information about the disease and how it can be prevented is essential. Babies, medical workers and employees in rehabilitation centers should be vaccinated as a matter of priority, while people who have not suffered from hepatitis B, especially if they are under 18, should also be inoculated.

Around 10,000 Vietnamese people die every year from cirrhosis complications and liver cancer, according to the association.

Editor: Yang Yi
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