Hepatitis B rates on the rise in Vietnam

More and more Vietnamese people are suffering from hepatitis B, with the majority only being hospitalized as their condition becomes serious, Chairman of the Vietnam Association for the Study of Live Diseases Dinh Quy Lan warned last week.

Approximately 35 Vietnamese people were diagnosed with hepatitis B every day in 2012, which was more than twice the number recorded in 2011, Xinhua reports.

An estimated 88.7 million people, or 20 percent of the nation's total population, suffers from hepatitis B, with 40 percent of the infected at risk of developing liver cancer.

Very little education about prevention and self-diagnosis of the disease is available in Vietnam, further compounding the problem.

According to the Vietnam Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, only 25 percent of newborn babies receive the hepatitis B vaccination the day after being born despite the injection being most effective when given as soon after birth as possible, according to Xinhua.

To combat the disease, which is often transmitted through blood when people share syringes or tooth bruises or through unprotected sex, experts advised that information about the disease and how it can be prevented needs to be more easily accessible. Additionally, vaccinations should be provided to babies, medical workers and employees in rehabilitation centers as a matter of priority and those under the age of 18 should also be inoculated.

Approximately 10,000 people die in Vietnam every year from cirrhosis complications and liver cancer, Xinhua reports.