world hepatitis day

World Hepatitis Day Wants To Eliminate Hepatitis

World Hepatitis Day

What is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis simply means inflammation of the liver and can be caused by different things. One of the most common causes of chronic (long-term) hepatitis is a viral infection. 

Hepatitis is most commonly caused by one of three viruses:
  1. The Hepatitis A virus: Hepatitis A is a viral liver disease that can cause mild to severe illness. The Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and water or through direct contact with an infectious person. There is no specific treatment for Hepatitis A.
  2. The Hepatitis B virus: Hepatitis B is a viral infectio. It attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease. The virus is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person. A vaccine against Hepatitis B has been available since 1982. The vaccine is 95% effective in preventing infection and the development of chronic disease and liver cancer due to Hepatitis B.
  3. The Hepatitis C virus: Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis C virus. The virus can cause both acute and chronic Hepatitis, ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. The Hepatitis C virus is a blood-borne virus and the most common modes of infection are through exposure to small quantities of blood. This may happen through injection drug use, unsafe injection practices, unsafe health care, and the transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products. Hepatitis C does not always require treatment as the immune response in some people will clear the infection, and some people with chronic infection do not develop liver damage.

What is World Hepatitis Day?

World Hepatitis Day (WHD) takes places every year on the 28th of July and brings the world together under a single theme to raise awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis and to influence real change. One of just four disease-specific global awareness days officially endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO). World Hepatitis Day unites patient organizations, governments, medical professionals, civil society, industry and the general public to boost the global profile of viral hepatitis.

World Hepatitis Day

The theme of this year’s World Hepatitis Day is Eliminate Hepatitis – Finding the missing millions

Why is World Hepatitis Day important?
  • Viral hepatitis is one of the leading causes of death globally. Itaccounts for 1.34 million deaths per year –that’s as many as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria.
  • Together, hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C cause 80% of liver cancer cases in the world.
  • Viral hepatitis is not found in one location or amongst one set of people; it is a truly global epidemic that can affect millions of people without them even being aware. Currently, 90% of people living with hepatitis B and 80% living with hepatitis C are not aware of their status. This can result in the real possibility of developing fatal liver disease at some point in their lives and in some cases, unknowingly transmitting the infection to others.
Hepatitis in relation to children

For Children, Hepatitis A is the most common type of hepatitis to get. The virus lives in poop (feces) from people who have the infection. That is why it’s so important for children to wash their hands before eating and after going to the bathroom. Vegetables, fruits, shrimp, and lobster also can carry hepatitis if they were harvested in contaminated water or in unsanitary conditions. Hepatitis A affects people for a short time, and when they recover, it does not come back.

How to Prevent Hepatitis A in children

The following will help keep children safe from hepatitis A:

  • Regular hand washing, especially after going to the bathroom and before eating
  • Washing fruits and vegetables before eating them
  • Not eating raw shellfish, such as shrimps and lobster.
  • Getting the vaccine for Hepatitis A
Viral hepatitis can be eliminated

Viral hepatitis is one of the most significant global health threats of our lifetime, with 4% of the global population infected and 1.34 million deaths each year.

Yet, this global epidemic can be stopped now that preventative vaccines for hepatitis B and a curative treatment for hepatitis C exist. Additionally, at the 69th World Health Assembly in Geneva, 194 governments adopted WHO’s Global Strategy on Viral Hepatitis, which includes a goal of eliminating hepatitis B and C in the next 13 years. The community responded by launching NOhep, the first ever global movement to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030.

World Hepatitis Day

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