The communicable disease I have chosen for this paper is Hepatitis. Hepatitis B is a liver disease that is caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). This virus can cause infections that can last a life time. These infections include cirrhosis of the liver (scarring), liver cancer, liver failure, and ultimately death. Hepatitis B is highly contagious and this disease affects one out of every twenty people in the United States. According to the website www. health. ny. gov, one out of 20 people will become infected with HBV at some point in their lives.
This disease does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, regardless of race, sexual orientation, or gender. Your risks for becoming infected with HBV is greater if you have been having sexual intercourse with someone who is infected with HBV, have more than one sexual partner, are an man having sex with another man, have ever had an STD (sexual transmitted disease), or use intravenous needles for drug use. Some health care and public safety workers are also at risk and children born to an HBV infected mother. You are also at risk if you are a dialysis patient.
Some of the ways to control the spread of hepatitis B is by education, screening, testing those that are a higher risk such as infants and pregnant women, and new ways to diagnose hepatitis. The treatment for hepatitis B has no special medicines or antibiotics that are used to treat someone who is infected with this disease. According to health. ny. gov, getting plenty of rest is all the treatment a person needs. Interferon (a protein produced by cells that work against viral infections) has been very effective for chronic HBV infection. Interferon has been a success in twenty five to fifty percent of reported HBV cases.
In an effort to control the spread of hepatitis B, a vaccine that is safe and effective is now available for those who are infected with hepatitis B. The Centers for Disease Control recommends all children and young adults should be vaccinated against hepatitis B as soon as birth with their regular childhood immunizations (CDC, Centers for Disease control). There are three shots that are given to people over the course of six months. People should make sure that their sex partners are also vaccinated against hepatitis B. There are several resources available to assist with treatment and care for those with hepatitis B.
The Hepatitis Foundation International is a resource center that has a compilation of different resources to help those who have hepatitis that are in need. Their mission is simply “to promote liver wellness and healthy lifestyles, and reduce the incidence of preventable diseases that affect the liver’s health including obesity, diabetes, fatty liver, high cholesterol, hepatitis and substance abuse”(Hepatitis Foundation International, 2013). This foundation offers websites and help center information to assist those in need of treatment and care.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health organization (WHO) are also among the resources available that assist with treatment and care by educating the public. These organizations help the public to better understand the seriousness of hepatitis B and how they can reduce the incidence of spreading this disease from one person to another. Testing and screening is highly recommended for people in general but especially those that are at a higher risk. The socioeconomic status of those that have hepatitis and those that are at risk, are those persons that come from a low poverty area where resources are scarce.
According to U. S. News, over 2 million people in the United States may be affected with hepatitis B (HealthDay News). Most of the infected come from countries such as Africa or Asia because the vaccination for hepatitis is not routine in those countries. The people that are infected come from a diverse population. Over the last ten years, a tremendous effort has been made to ensure that all infants receive the vaccination before they come home from the hospital. Over the last decade, strides have been made to reduce the number of cases of hepatitis b. People are being vaccinated more than ever before.
Infants are being vaccinated at birth; schools are requiring that all students be vaccinated before they can attend school. There was a time when the need outweighed the resources. Now, people can obtain vaccinations at little or no cost to them. Most information centers have classes being held to educate the people about the severity of hepatitis B. Overall, where there once was a lack of information and a shortage of resources, the fight to control communicable diseases still continues. With the help of surveillance and reporting, we can now get a head start on communicable diseases before they become epidemics.