Hepatitis C: all ages are submissive

 Hepatitis C: all ages are manageable

Alex Shtarkman is a nurse at the Aful hospital “Emek”, known throughout the north of Israel. And not only because he received the title of honored nurse “ah metztaen”, but also because his activities go far beyond the hospital. His job is so – communicate, as he himself says, with the general population in order to prevent the spread of a dangerous virus – hepatitis C.

-Alex, please specify what the general population has to do with it, when we know that this infection clung to people in the former Soviet Union, that is, thirty years ago. That is, if anyone has it, then it is mainly in the elderly…
– This is not true. Unfortunately, this disease occurs in people of any age. The other day, for example, I was organizing the treatment of a 9-year-old girl. She had recently repatriated with her mother from Ukraine, and a routine check-up by her family doctor revealed hepatitis C in both. But if for adults the procedure for obtaining therapeutic drugs has long been worked out – we submit an application based on a blood test, and the patient immediately receives the necessary medicine, then for children of this age there is no such procedure yet – too exceptional. Of course, the girl will be given full treatment, and she will be healthy, but the question is interesting, how could she get infected? Most likely, from the mother, that is, she became a carrier of the virus from birth. So it's better not to tempt fate and check.
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– By the way, about checks. The coronavirus epidemic taught us to take PCR tests: this is now the most common procedure. Flew abroad – stand in line at Ben Gurion Airport, otherwise they simply will not let you into the city. Is it possible to be tested for hepatitis C at the same time as this test? Everything would be much easier.

– Ideas to combine such checks during the delivery of any blood test were discussed. But so far, technology does not allow this. It is extremely difficult to identify the hepatitis C virus – it was not in vain that for many decades it evaded “persecution”, and for the scientific developments on its discovery, scientists received the Nobel Prize. But you are right: the habit of being tested for this virus should become commonplace. As a result of the “corona” it is now psychologically easier for people to take blood tests, and it is better to check yourself in a timely manner and bring both children and elderly parents with you.

 Hepatitis C: all ages are obedient

Alexander Shtarkman

Let me give you another example, when a daughter did not send her mother for a check-up on time, and then she experienced a painful sense of guilt. An elderly woman suddenly developed pain in the liver area. All her life she did not attach importance to ailments, but here, as they say, “hot”. Tests confirmed the suspicion: the 85-year-old patient was found to have the hepatitis C virus and, as a consequence, liver cancer. The virus was dormant in the body for several decades, without showing itself in any way – until it gave the worst possible complication – malignant tumor of the liver. Hepatitis C usually shows up earlier. We decided to start treatment in two directions: firstly, to cure the very cause of the tumor – hepatitis, and at the same time do everything possible to stop the growth of the tumor. The patient quickly received the latest drugs against the virus, and they turned out to be very effective. In just eight weeks, the source of the oncological disease disappeared. However, there was no happy ending with the tumor. It was possible to delay its development for several months, but the oncological disease turned out to be so neglected that the woman soon died.
– That is, if she had come for a check-up a couple of years earlier, the situation could have been different?
– Of course , there was a chance, and the daughter was very worried that she had not sent her mother for verification earlier. Current drugs allow you to cure the disease very quickly and painlessly in 97 percent of cases. Therefore, we urge young Israelis to come to the blood test themselves and take care of their elderly parents and children.
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