Belarus under Hepatitis A threat

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While doctors expect a sharp increase in Hepatitis A cases in a couple of years, only paid vaccinations are now available in Belarusian clinics.

With only isolated cases of Hepatitis A reported in Belarus over the past ten years, we have a whole generation that has not been faced with this virus. This makes the Ministry of Health develop a project of general immunization. However, just a small percentage of people can secure themselves from the virus free of charge.

Iryna Hlinskaya, the chief of immunization and prevention at the Minsk city hygiene and epidemiology center, tells ERB more about the project.

“Vaccines are primarily given to children that go to school, students that live in dormitories and adults that work at dairies and sewage treatment plants. In addition, we target people that are in contact with Hepatitis A patients,” Hlinskaya says.

The virus is especially dangerous to young people aged 18-29, with up to 70 percent of them being sensitive to the disease. Hepatitis A affects young people heavier and with aggravated consequences.

“Hepatitis A in-patient treatment takes up to three-four weeks. Afterwards, patients will have to stick to a strict diet for another six months. Yet, it does not rule out certain complications for liver and biliary ducts. Anyway, those people will have diet restrictions for the rest of their lives,” Hlinskaya explains.

The European Radio for Belarus has also approached Ulada Zapolskaya who runs the epidemic prevention department at the Minsk city hygiene center to elucidate on whether we should expect any other disease threats.

“The epidemiological situation remains calm. We are registering a seasonal increase in intravirus infections like meningitis, encephalitis, salmonellas. We are having more cases than last year, but the process is under control,” she said.