HEPATITIS C is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the hepatitis C virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. Every year, three to four million people are infected with hepatitis C virus.

About 150 million people are chronically infected and at risk of developing liver cirrhosis and/or liver cancer. More than 350,000 people die of hepatitis C-related liver diseases every year.

Hepatitis C is found worldwide. Countries with high rates of chronic infection are Egypt (15 per cent), Pakistan (4.8 per cent) and China (3.2 per cent).

The hepatitis C virus is usually spread when blood from an infected person enters the body of a susceptible person. This can occur through receipt of contaminated blood transfusions, blood products and organ transplants, injections given with contaminated syringes and needle- stick injuries in healthcare settings;

Injection drug use: being born to a hepatitis C- infected mother.

The most common reason of spreading hepatitis C is dental clinics which are found in shop-like clinics where no BDS doctors are available. Even no qualified persons are present at these clinics. A layman who acquires some knowledge of dentistry treats patients without even bothering to sterilise the equipment already used on a patient.

No one takes notice of such dentists who are playing with the lives of the people.

DR SIDRA SARWAR Lahore

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