World Hepatitis Day is observed every year on July 28 to raise awareness about the disease that causes inflammation of the liver, which could cause liver cancer in extreme cases.
The day is also celebrated to honour Nobel-prize-winning scientist Dr Baruch Blumberg who discovered Hepatitis B virus and developed a vaccine for the same.
As per WHO, the world is currently facing a new outbreak of unexplained acute hepatitis infections affecting children.
WHO, along with scientists and policymakers in affected countries, are working together to understand the cause of the infection that does not belong to any of the known five hepatitis viruses- A, B, C, D and E.
According to WHO, every 30 second, someone loses his/her life to Hepatitis B or C.
The theme for World Hepatitis Day 2022 is ‘bringing hepatitis care closer to the primary health facilities and communities.’
Types B and C of the disease causes chronic illness in hundreds of millions of people and are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and viral-hepatitis deaths.
The three types of chronic hepatitis infections, as per WHO, are responsible for over 95 per cent of hepatitis deaths.
As per WHO, 1,100,000 deaths per year are caused by Hepatitis B and C.
Also, 10 per cent of people who have chronic infections with hepatitis B virus are diagnosed, out of which 22 per cent receive treatment.
How does Hepatitis spread?
The disease can be transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and water, and direct contact with the infected person.
Type B Hepatitis can be transmitted from mother to child during birth and delivery as well as through contact with blood or other bodily fluids during sexual intercourse.
Unsafe injections can also transmit the disease.
Hepatitis C, on the other hand, is a blood-borne virus and is mainly caused by unsafe injection practices and unscreened blood transfusions.
Hepatitis D is a virus that needs the Hepatitis B virus for its replication. The infection occurs when the patient is already infected with the latter.
Hepatitis E is in many cases transmitted through the faecal-oral route.
Hepatitis can cause both acute and chronic illnesses in human beings.
- Getting vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B
- Using protection during sexual intercourse
- Using fresh needles and not used ones
- Practising personal hygiene
- Drinking bottled water
- Taking precautions while having body piercings
- Maintaining good sanitation practices
- Consuming liver-enriching foods like berries, citrus fruits, nuts, olive oil, turmeric and others.
WHO aims to achieve hepatitis elimination by 2030.