‘Hepatitis patient dropouts pose infection threat’
Dropout among hepatitis patients in India is a risk, as it may lead to the spread of infection to high-risk groups. A study found that a large percentage of hepatitis B and C infections remain undiagnosed. Regular feedback and tracking are needed to minimize dropout rates.
Dropout among identified hepatitis patients poses a threat, as they may spread infection to others in high-risk behaviour groups, such as sex workers and injectable drug users, said Dr Archana Pawar, a Mumbai-based microbiologist while addressing MICROCON-2023, a five-day national conference of the Indian Association of Medical Microbiologists at King George’s Medical University (KGMU).
Presenting a study conducted with over 26,000 patients between January and June 2023, Dr Pawar said, “It is estimated that 90% of the hepatitis B and 79% of hepatitis C infections remain undiagnosed.” Dr Pawar works at Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and General Hospital, Mumbai.
“India falls in the intermediate endemicity group with hepatitis B prevalence rate of 0.87% to 21.4% hepatitis C prevalence rate between 0.19% and 53.7%. This signifies any dropout among identified hepatitis patient is a risk,” she said.
She further shared among hepatitis B patients we identified only 20.84% enrolled at model treatment centre and among hepatitis C 31.02% enrolled.
“To check drop out regular feedback and tracking is needed. This if applied with every identified/enrolled patient will bring down dropout rate to minimum,” said Dr Sumit Rungta, head of gastroenterology department at KGMU.