Dr. Dan Onwujekwe, a medical researcher, has urged Nigerians to pay attention to the hygiene of public toilets, warning that Hepatitis B and C infections could be acquired from them.
He stated that people could contract the viral infection through direct contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person.
People should disinfect public restrooms with bleach before using them, according to the expert, to avoid exposing themselves to the risk of infection.
According to Dr. Onwujekwe, a Retired Chief Research Fellow at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research in Yaba, Lagos, people can get infections like hepatitis B and C from public toilets if the seats are contaminated with blood or feces.
According to him, COVID-19 has taught the world a lot of things, including the importance of people being health conscious wherever they go.
He stated that many people are unaware of the dangers of using public restrooms without disinfecting the seat with bleach or detergent.
“There are infections that can be acquired from public toilets,” the researcher explained.
“People should be aware that when a seat is contaminated with blood or feces, infections such as hepatitis B or C can be acquired that do not die off immediately.”
“If a person with a wound or cut sits on it and the wound becomes contaminated with the fluid that was dropped there, the next person who uses it could contract hepatitis B or C from such a toilet seat.”
“The simple solution is to disinfect the toilet seat before using it.” It will make it safe because these organisms die when seats are disinfected.
“However, many people do not do this. When they get other infections, they’ll come back and tell you it’s a toilet infection. However, this is not the case.”
Hepatitis B and C, he claims, do not die quickly, unlike HIV, which dries quickly when exposed to air.
“Hepatitis is an infection of the liver caused by viruses such as A, B, C, D, and E.” Hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV and HCV) are the most common types of viral hepatitis.
“The common factors associated with transmission of both HBV and HCV infections are the same, including exposure to infective blood, injection drug use, and syringe reuse,” he explained. “However, HBV infection can also be caused by sexual contact and mother-to-child transmission at the prenatal stage.”
Dr. Onwujekwe insisted that public restrooms should always have disinfectants and 10% bleach so that users can wipe their seats before using them.
“Those in charge of the toilets should be educated on the importance of keeping them clean at all times and making disinfectants, particularly 10% bleach, available.”
“These simple measures will reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis while also protecting other users,” he explained.
He went on to say that infectious diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, and viral hepatitis are major global public health concerns.
According to Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, approximately 20 million Nigerians are chronically infected with hepatitis B and C.
Dr. Onwujekwe urged the government at all levels to develop effective community-based health education programs to raise public awareness about viral hepatitis transmission routes and prevention.