"It is a serious issue and I request everyone to participate in the cause as there is very limited awareness about Hepatitis. People should know, only then they will be careful about it," he said, launching an email and SMS campaign as part of the build-up to the World Hepatitis Day next Sunday (July 28).

He kicked off the campaign by sending an email to state Health Minister Suresh Shetty with a message that calls for "Knowing, Confronting & Eradicating Hepatitis".

The email and SMS campaign precedes a virtual chain four days prior to a human chain at Chowpatty next Saturday and is an initiative of National Liver Foundation (NLF), a non-government organisation dedicate to creating awareness about hepatitis.

NLF founder-trustee Samir R Shah said that together, Hepatitis B & Hepatitis C represent a major global health threat, particularly in India.

"Contracted through blood-to-blood contact, both are 'silent' viruses and many people feel no symptoms for years after they are infected. If ignored, it can lead to cirrhosis with life-threatening implications," explained Shah.

When diagnosis is made too late, the only option is a liver transplant and Shah urged those people within the risk categories to undergo medical tests on priority.

(Agencies)

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