The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST) is raising awareness for hepatitis B through a movement called Code Yellow, so called because jaundice (the yellowing of the skin and eyes) is a common symptom of the disease.
“Code Yellow means that we are exposing the information on hepatitis to increase the community’s awareness on the disease,” said Dr. Lemuel Delos Reyes, medical doctor and
Hepatitis B Awareness Campaign advocate, during the PCHRD-conducted seminar “Code Yellow, Mission Against Hepatitis” in January. Symptoms of Hepatitis B Symptoms of hepatitis include jaundice, dark or “tea-like” urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and loss of appetite. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most commonly caused by a viral infection. The disease has five different types: hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. Types B and C in particular can lead to chronic disease in hundreds of millions of people and are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.
Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water. Hepatitis B, C and D usually occur as a result of contact with infected body fluids, through modes of transmission such as blood transfusion, sexual intercourse, and sharing of inanimate objects such as towels, toothbrushes, and razors. The disease can also be transmitted through prenatal exposure from an infected mother. Acute infection may occur with limited or no symptoms.
The disease is a serious public health issue because it is highly contagious and easily transmitted, and so has great potential for outbreaks. 60 percent of Pinoys infected —WHO
According to the Hepatitis B Foundation Institute for Hepatitis and Virus Research, more than two billion people worldwide have been infected by hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and one million people die each year.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that, in the Philippines, 60 percent of the population has been infected with HBV, while approximately 10 percent have chronic or active hepatitis B and are carriers. “This means that there are already around eight to 10 million hepatitis B carriers in the country who might infect more people,” said Dr. Delos Reyes. “We are all at risk.” However, he adds, even though the disease has no cure yet, it is highly preventable—through proper hygiene and sanitation, and through vaccination. “Vaccination is the easiest, most logical…most effective and long-term means of preventing hepatitis.” — TJD, GMA News