Hepatitis 'B' identified as growing health challenge in Upper Dolpa

Out of the 343 people who visited a health camp, 70 people have been diagnosed with Hepatitis 'B' in Dolpo Buddha Rural Municipality, Dolpa.

Kathmandu based Bir Hospital's senior liver disease specialist Dr Sudhamshu KC said, "One among four is likely to be found positive with hepatitis 'B' in Upper Dolpa." He added that it was likely to take an epidemic form in future if timely interventions are not carried out.

According to Dr KC, the cases of hepatitis 'B' are high in adjoining Tibet and hence entered the district from there.

Besides, the lack of (anti) hepatitis 'B' vaccine for infants at birth is one of the reasons behind growing cases of hepatitis 'B' there.

Most patients infected with hepatitis 'B' are from Dho village and the virus has been found among people from Saldang, Bhijer, Chharka and Phoksundo as well.

According to the camp organiser, the number of hepatitis 'B' virus-infected is on the rise every year. Members of the same family have been found infected by it which can lead to serious complications including liver cancer and liver failure if not treated on time.

Though the disease is considered fatal and not fully curable, its impact is manageable with the help of medicines. Dr Melina Hamal of District Hospital, Dolpa advised not to share needles, personal belongings such as clothes, and not to eat food from the same plate. Giving proper attention to cleanliness has been stressed to prevent infection.