Hepatitis: here is the prevention plan for this disease in Colombia – Health

According to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, viral hepatitis are infections caused by different types of virus (A, B, C, D and E), each with a route of transmission, diagnosis and mode of treatment. different.

(Keep reading: WHO warns that new hepatitis is a “very urgent” problem)

April 5th The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of cases of severe acute hepatitis of unknown origin in children under 10 years old where jaundice (74.1%), vomiting (72.8%), diarrhea (49.4%), a few cases of fever (29.6%) and elevated liver enzymes were observed.

Relevant infectious and non-infectious epidemiological risk factors, including international travel, have not yet been identified in Europe. It was learned that most children were not vaccinated against covid-19 and adenoviruses were detected in 74 cases.

(Also: Acute childhood hepatitis of unknown origin puts several countries on edge)

Although no such case has yet been detected in Colombia, the National Institute of Health (INS) has asked the Institutions providing health services intensify the search for possible cases according to the WHO definition in pediatric wardsas well as the strengthening of respiratory virus surveillance through the ESIIRAG sentinel strategy in establishments set up at the national level to identify unusual increases in the detection of Adenoviruses.

Given the identification of a probable case, excluding other events that could explain the patient’s symptoms, the entity requested that it be immediately notified through the public health surveillance system using the code Sivigila 900 , which captures the basic information and in the variable “place of residence address” enter the diagnosis “severe acute hepatitis”.

The territorial entity must transmit a copy of the clinical history, verify the studies carried out in the healthcare network and in accordance with the risk assessment processes, and activate the immediate response teams to carry out the epidemiological investigation in the field, identify possible exposures to toxic substances, environment, food and water consumption, medications, identification of cases and contacts, recent travel, medical history, vaccination schedule according to age, parents’ profession, among others.

About hepatitis in Colombia

According to reports from the World Health Organization, these infections collectively cause approximately 1.4 million deaths per year worldwideof which 47% are due to hepatitis B, 48% to hepatitis C and the rest to hepatitis A and E.

In Colombia, in 2019, 4,177 cases of hepatitis A were reported, the majority
of them between 10 and 29 years old; 1,729 cases of hepatitis B, mostly in people between the ages of 25 and 44; and in hepatitis C, 862 cases, mostly in people over 50.

“The high mortality caused by these viruses is due to the fact that hepatitis B and C cause chronic infections that can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. In addition, It has been estimated that 78% of liver cancer cases and 57% of cirrhosis cases worldwide are caused by chronic infections caused by these viruses,” explained a few years ago, Claudia Cuéllar, Director of Promotion and Prevention.

(You may be interested: WHO studies hepatitis of unknown origin in minors in UK)

In 2020, around 347,580 people in the country were estimated to be living with hepatitis B, of whom only around 23,000 knew their diagnosis, and some 325,600 were living with hepatitis C and only around 6,000 were aware of their diagnosis. diagnostic.

“For this reason, the Ministry of Health has included in the health promotion and maintenance path – which must be implemented by all EPS in the country – actions for the active offer of these tests to people with risk factors such as a history of transfusions before 1996, age greater than or equal to 50, unprotected sex, hepatitis B testing for all pregnant women, among others,” Cuéllar said.

In terms of prevention, the Ministry of Health has strengthened the vaccination program against hepatitis B. As early as 2021, hepatitis B biologics were included in the plan for people at high risk of infection “such as sex workers, people who inject drugs, transgender women, men who have sex sex with other men and people on the street”.


The director of promotion and prevention insisted on the fact that it is important to understand that needles and syringes “can only be used once and must not be reused or shared in any way”, knowing that this is the main route of hepatitis infection.

Another relevant aspect, Cuéllar added, is that the majority of people infected with hepatitis B or C are apparently healthy because they do not show symptoms until they develop complications. “For it the person can infect or become infected by sharing personal items such as razors, nail clippers, needles and syringes, and it can also be transmitted to boys and girls during pregnancy and childbirth, when the infection in the mother is not identified in time,” he said.

(Also read: WHO already confirms 169 cases of new acute childhood hepatitis in 11 countries)

Viruses can also be transmitted during unprotected sex, “in this way it is essential to limit the number of sexual partners, the unquestionable use of condoms, to speak openly with the partner if you feel that he has been exposed and, of course, don’t forget to consult your doctor in case of suspicion,” he said.

Other recommendations:

– Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.
– Wash hands and drink clean water.
– Do not come into contact with other people’s blood or fluids.
– Attend prenatal visits.

More health news

-What we know about hepatitis of unknown origin that affects children
​-Cases of childhood hepatitis detected in several European countries


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