Sunday January 15, 2006
Check blood for Hepatitis C, transfusion patients urged
KUALA LUMPUR: Patients who received blood transfusions before 1997 have been asked to check their blood to ensure they are not infected with Hepatitis C.
Director-General of Health Datuk Dr Mohd Ismail Merican advised those who were infected with the disease to seek immediate treatment.
Blood screening for Hepatitis C has been carried out since 1997. Those who received blood transfusions before then should check their blood, he told reporters after delivering a keynote address on hepatitis at a health seminar here yesterday.
There were 745 cases of Hepatitis C reported in 2004 compared with 33 in 1996.
Dr Mohd Ismail said there was an increase in the number of Hepatitis C cases after blood screening was done on foreign workers in the country.
Another high-risk group was drug addicts.
Dr Mohd Ismail said Hepatitis C was now treated in the country through the pegylated interferon combination therapy or the anti-viral drug ribavirion. .
However, he said it was better to prevent the disease or reduce the risk by avoiding unscreened blood transfusions or unsafe injections. .
He said those who felt unusually tired should also check for Hepatitis C.
Dr Mohd Ismail said that overall, Hepatitis A and B cases had declined as the country become more developed.
The number of Hepatitis A cases had dropped as more people were aware of their food intake and personal hygiene, he added. Bernama