Tuesday, October 15

Don’t share personal hygiene items to avoid risk of hepatitis: MOH

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Datuk Noor Hisham Abdullah – Bernama photo

KUALA LUMPUR: Personal toiletry items and grooming tools such as toothbrushes, razors, nail clippers and even nail polish should not be shared to avoid the risk of getting  hepatitis.

The use of such items and tools can sometimes cause cuts and injuries from which viruses can be transmitted, and sharing them with another person could result in infections and the spread of the disease,  said Health director-general, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah

“Hepatitis patients are also advised against donating blood as the infection can be passed on to the recipient,” he said, adding that safe sex practices could also prevent the spread of the disease.

Dr Noor Hisham said this in a statement in conjunction with the 2019 World Hepatitis Day celebrated today.

A person can be infected with Hepatitis B or C when exposed directly to the body fluids and blood of an infected person through wounds, sharing needles and sex. It can also be transmitted from mother to baby during the birth process.

Hepatitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the liver and spread by viruses referred to as hepatitis A, B, C, D and E, added the statement.

Hepatitis A and E are usually caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water, while B, C and D types lead to chronic diseases and are major causes of cirrhosis (scarring) of liver and liver cancer.

In Malaysia, the Hepatitis B notification rate had increased over the last five years, from 12.94 for every 100,000 persons in 2014, to 14.52  per 100,000 in 2018.

For Hepatitis C, an estimated 3,000 new infections were reported to the Health Ministry (MOH) each year. Last year, 2,842 new cases of Hepatitis C were reported with a rate of 8.77 per 100,000 residents.

In conjunction with the World Hepatitis Day celebration, Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry had conducted Hepatitis C screening campaigns in collaboration with related agencies at 112 of its facilities. They included 49 hospitals and 63 health clinics. – Bernama