Dreaming of having a baby? Get tested for hepatitis C!

 Want to have a baby? Get tested for hepatitis C!

Olga and Yossi P. dreamed of having a child. The circumstances were excellent. Both are holders of academic degrees, both got jobs in good firms and earn good money. Parents on both sides were looking forward to their grandchildren and promised help. It seems that the young people have taken into account all the details, calculated all the schedules in order to increase the chance of having a boy, and have even looked at the albums of photographers specializing in the topic of pregnancy and childbirth. The pregnancy came, but … it didn't come to a happy event.

Olga suddenly felt unwell, the doctor sent her to the hospital, but the doctors shrugged. Premature termination of pregnancy.

Then began going to the doctors, trying to find out what is “wrong” in the body of a young woman. After all, she seems to be perfectly healthy. Having gone through all the options, the gynecologist sent her, just in case, to a blood test for hepatitis.

The fears were confirmed. Olga turned out to have liver failure on the background of hepatitis C, which had not manifested itself in any way before. But the pregnancy provoked a liver disease, and then led to a violation of the development of the fetus.

So Olga ended up at a hepatologist's appointment. “We'll have to postpone plans for having a baby,” she was told. – But not for long. Treatment will require only eight to ten weeks. Get treated and then proceed…

“Complications of pregnancy against the background of the hepatitis C virus are possible,” comments hepatologist Elena Katsman. – The virus can interfere with the normal development of the fetus. Therefore, when thinking about procreation, it is necessary to exclude possible risks, and, above all, hepatitis C. In Israel, family doctors do not always remember this analysis themselves, but they can be reminded. “

To contact a doctor, download the form here.

A few months ago, the Maccabi Health Insurance Fund, for the first time in Israel, asked young couples planning to have a baby: get tested for hepatitis C!

In 2016, Professor Itamar Groth signed the World Hepatitis C Convention on behalf of the State of Israel. The country has built a national strategy that determines which population groups are considered priority in order to carry out the necessary tests, and – if needed – carry out the treatment. Among those who especially need verification are families who dream of having a child. Pregnancy – an amazing time, full of emotions and joyful discoveries, however, many hidden ailments, as well as weaknesses of the body, tend to manifest themselves at this time. Not to mention the fact that childbirth is a difficult test for a woman's body, and there are times when the need for a blood transfusion arises. In this case, it is especially important that the blood of the future mother be free from viruses. But first, let's deal with one strange medical detective.

Frankenstein ambush, or the virus escapes pursuit

Back in the 40s of the last century, doctors determined that at least two types of hepatitis viruses cause malfunctions in the liver. They were named A and B. The first causes jaundice or Botkin's disease, it is transmitted with water or food, most often in violation of sanitary standards.

Another ailment – hepatitis B is transmitted through blood or other body fluids. It is much more dangerous, because the disease caused by it can become chronic. For the discovery of this virus, the Nobel Prize was awarded in 1967 to an American scientist, a Jew Baruch Blumberg. But scientists eventually realized that there is another virus that can hide in the body for years and even decades without showing up. A killer virus that brings severe and in the recent past almost incurable diseases – cirrhosis of the liver and cancer. The name “gentle killer” stuck behind this virus.

Black cat in a dark room

It took more than thirty years to find the hepatitis C virus – until the American scientist Harvey Alter hit the trail of an insidious and elusive enemy, whose stay in the human body led to severe liver disease.

He suggested calling the unknown agent neither A nor B, thereby emphasizing the difference with the action of these already described viruses. Those were transmitted through water and food and caused jaundice – a not pleasant disease, but incomparable in destructiveness with a form of hepatitis caused by an unknown virus. Olter suggested that the pathogen was transmitted by blood transfusion. But at the same time, blood tests from the donor and recipient did not reveal the DNA of the mysterious virus. Another American scientist, Michael Houghton, managed to identify DNA, who, together with Charles Wright, managed to assemble the formula of the virus in the blood of infected chimpanzees. They are the 2020 Nobel Prize winners.

The discovery of the virus made it possible to describe its properties: it can live for years and even decades in the human body, without showing itself in any way and accumulating strength for a deadly “explosion”; in the form of cirrhosis of the liver or cancer. After many years of research, scientists have managed to create a simple way to diagnose – by a simple blood test.

The evolution of treatment

Not so long ago, the cure for hepatitis C was a long and rather painful process using interferon injections. Patients experienced dizziness, nausea, some had to give up work for a while and even go on disability. All this is now in the past. In recent years, new drugs have been developed that are available in tablets and the course of treatment with which provides a complete recovery within 6-8 weeks. All medications are included in the Israeli healthcare basket.

The “gentle killer”, as scientists have nicknamed hepatitis C, is on the decline.

Please note:

  • Cirrhosis of the liver may be first detected during pregnancy
  • Liver failure may lead to miscarriage or premature birth
  • Screening tests for those planning a pregnancy also detect hepatitis C
  • < li>Hepatitis cannot be treated during pregnancy

  • Conception is recommended six months after completion of treatment
  • Instead of completion. Well, what about the young spouses with whom we began this story? They are all great. After undergoing treatment, Olga gave birth to a healthy boy.

If you want to be sure that hepatitis C has not lurked in your body, download the form and contact your doctor.

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