LAHORE - High prevalence of Hepatitis-B among students of Danish Schools has caused the Punjab Health Department to start vaccination of unaffected children for checking spread of the deadly virus, TheNation has learnt.

People at helm of affairs come out of deep slumber following shocking report of Special Branch regarding high prevalence of Hepatitis-B, a disease that is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV/AIDS, among students of Danish School at Fazilpur in district Rajanpur. The annual screening of students detected 26 cases of Hepatitis-B and another five of Hepatitis-C.

As Hepatitis-B is the most infectious among all types of Hepatitis but also a vaccine preventable disease, the department directed district authorities to carryout screening and vaccinate unaffected students, teachers and staff of all Danish Schools in the first phase.

After covering Danish Schools, screening and vaccination campaign will be extended to other educational institutions in the second phase.

The CEOs of District Health Authorities have also been directed to launch comprehensive awareness campaign involving heads of educational institutions, nutrition supervisors and health education officers at union council level. The CEOs of DHAs have also been directed to arrange health education sessions regarding prevalence of Hepatitis-B and C and preventive measures to control the menace.

Transmission of hepatitis B virus results from exposure to infectious blood or body fluids containing blood. Possible forms of transmission include sexual contact, blood transfusions and transfusion with other human blood products, re-use of contaminated needles and syringes, and vertical transmission from mother to child (MTCT) during childbirth.

Hepatitis B is a potentially life-threatening liver infection. It can cause chronic infection and puts people at high risk of death from cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Additional Secretary (admin) Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department Dr Adnan Zafar said that Hepatitis B and C screening and Hepatitis B vaccination of students and staff of all Danish Schools would be completed by the end of ongoing month.

“On request from Danish School Authority, screening, testing and Hepatitis B vaccination for all staff and students of Danish Schools has been started and the process would be completed by the end of this month,” said Dr Adnan Zafar, who is also Director Punjab Aids Control Program, while chairing the progress review meeting of the ongoing campaign for all Danish Schools.

More than 8000 children and around 2300 staff members will be provided screening and vaccination facilities. The campaign is being conducted in Fazilpur (Rajanpur), Dera Ghazi Khan, Hasilpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Mianwali, Chishtian and Attock.