THE Ministry for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children has refuted information that hepatitis B is transmitted through air and therefore, causes massive deaths.
The ministry reacted after information was circulating on social media, saying the disease, which affects liver, was on the increase and had claimed several deaths in a short time.
“Society should get correct information from relevant authorities and they should ignore information circulating on social media,” the ministry’s statement, which was released in Dar es Salaam yesterday, says.
It further said that, according to the Tanzania HIV Impact Survey of 2016/17, conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), shows that 4.3 per cent of Tanzanians aged 15 years and above living in urban areas are infected with hepatitis B and 3.3 per cent in rural areas.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a small partially double-stranded circular deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) virus that belongs to the family Hepadnaviridae.
The disease is classified into eight genotypes A to H, with each one having distinct geographic distribution
In highly endemic areas, hepatitis B is most commonly spread from mother to child at birth (perinatal transmission) or through horizontal transmission (exposure to infected blood), especially from an infected child to an uninfected child during the first five years of life. Hepatitis B is also spread by percutaneous or mucosal exposure to infected blood and various body fluids, as well as through saliva, menstrual, vaginal and seminal fluids.
Sexual transmission of hepatitis B may occur, particularly in unvaccinated men, who have sex with men and heterosexual persons with multiple sex partners or contact with sex workers.
The ministry further said the government had taken several measures, including the introduction of hepatitis B vaccine to under five children in Tanzania in 2002 and was administered as Pentavalent (DPT-hepatitis B) at 4, 8 and 12 weeks of life. To date, 20 million Tanzanians have been vaccinated.
Another measure taken by the government is to provide vaccination to people, who are more at risk of infection, including healthcare workers, those, who share needles and those, who have unprotected sex with multiple sex partners or with someone, who is living with HBV. The statement further says that the vaccine has been sent to public health hospitals in several regions and border areas.
Other areas are Ocean Road Cancer Institute in which one will have to pay 10,000/- for diagnosis and 30,000/- for three dosages.
Indications for HBV treatment are strict, as it has to be offered only to chronic hepatitis B patients with inflammation of the liver, fibrosis, high viral replication and/or at high risk of disease progression to cirrhosis.
A patient is, therefore, subjected to serial investigations before the commencement of treatment. Signs and symptoms of hepatitis B range from mild to severe.
They usually appear about one to four months after one has been infected, although one could see them as early as two weeks postinfection. Some people, usually small children, may not have any symptoms.
Hepatitis B signs and symptoms may include abdominal pain, dark urine, fever, joint pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, weakness and fatigue, yellowing of one’s skin and the whites of one’s eyes (jaundice).