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UAE-wide hepatitis C awareness campaign launched
The Emirates Gastroenterology and Hepatology Society (EGHS) has launched a country-wide testing campaign across the UAE in co-operation with the Ministry of Healthy, in its attempt to combat the hepatitis C disease in the emirates.
The campaign supported by Dubai Health Authority (DHA), Alam Wa Amal and Patients Friends Committee kicked-off in Lamcy Plaza, Al Shabab Club and Mega Mall in Sharjah, and other locations that will be unveiled at a later stage, said a statement.
Hepatitis C is an infection caused by a virus that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation. Most people infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) have no symptoms, it said.
In fact, most people do not know they have the hepatitis C infection until liver damage shows up, decades later, during routine medical tests. It is one of several hepatitis viruses and is generally considered to be among the most serious.
The cases with indications of the disease will be directed towards insurance and non-insurance, laboratory referral and serology tests, said the statement.
Dr Maryam Al Khatry, president, Emirates Gastroenterology Society, Emirates Medical Association, said: "We have collaborated with several authorities in the UAE to launch a nation-wide campaign of Hepatitis C.
"Hepatitis C is a silent disease which often goes unnoticed and misdiagnosed as the symptoms do not develop for years, and when they do they can be similar to those of other diseases."
Dr Al Khatry stressed the importance of combating Hepatitis C which spreads through blood and targets the liver. Hepatitis C is considered one of the reasons of liver cancer and transplant in the world, it said.
"We think this survey is essential, due to the alarming spread of Hepatitis C across the world. We will offer this treatment for free to significant number of people in the UAE in collaboration with charity organisations and health authorities in the country," she added.
According to a recent study, around 80 per cent of Hepatitis C patients live symptom free for years without knowing they are infected.
About 130 to 150 million people globally have chronic Hepatitis C infection, with 350,000 to 500,000 people dying each year, it said.
The EGHS survey discusses issues like blood and organ transfusion; hemodialysis; tattoos or body piercing; sharing items like such as razors, nail clippers, scissors, and toothbrush etc; any related hepatitis C house-hold members; sexually transmitted diseases; contact with blood at workplace; if the person is a healthcare worker, police officer, or firefighter; mother infection with hepatitis C at the time the person was born, and past history of treated hepatitis "C". If any of the answers is yes, a blood test to determine the presence of Hepatitis C is recommended. - TradeArabia News Service

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