World Hepatitis Day
“It all depends on you whether you want to prevent Hepatitis or cure it.”
World Hepatitis Day (WHD) is celebrated every year on July 28 in order to spread awareness about the hepatitis virus, an inflammation of the liver that can cause severe liver disease and hepatocellular cancer. This day is an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of knowing one's hepatitis status and to spread the word about its treatment.
What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is a liver infection and inflammation caused by different viruses. There are 5 main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D, and E. These 5 types are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread. In particular, types B and C lead to chronic disease in hundreds of millions of people and, together, are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.
Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water. Hepatitis B, C, and D usually occur as a result of parenteral contact with infected body fluids. Common modes of transmission for these viruses include receipt of contaminated blood or blood products, invasive medical procedures using contaminated equipment, and hepatitis B transmission from mother to baby at birth, from family member to child, and also by sexual contact.
Acute infection may occur with limited or no symptoms or may include symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
History of World Hepatitis Day
This day is marked on July 28 on the birthday of Nobel Prize-winning scientist ‘Dr. Baruch Samuel Blumberg’ to honor him. He discovered the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). He also developed a diagnostic test and vaccine to treat the Hep-B virus.
The theme of World Hepatitis Day 2021
In 2021, the theme is 'Hepatitis Can't Wait', conveying the urgency of efforts needed to eliminate hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.
Significance of World Hepatitis Day
According to WHO, in India, Hepatitis B affected around 40 million people and Hepatitis C around 6-12 million people in 2017.
"If we look at the global picture, an estimated 290 million men, women and children are currently living with viral hepatitis unknowingly," says The World Hepatitis Alliance.
It also stressed on the fact that if not proper measures are avoided, the number would increase by 76 million by 2030. The number of preventable deaths from viral Hepatitis would be around 18.1 million. The prediction definitely raises concerns and highlights the need to address this global burden.
Some of the objectives of World Hepatitis Day
1. Involve as many people as possible to focus together on this issue.
2. Raising awareness about various types of Hepatitis and their mode of transmission.
3. Educate people about prevention, diagnosis, and control of Hepatitis
4. Spread awareness about Hepatitis A and B vaccines
5. Notify the public about comprehensive care and treatment options available for the different forms of hepatitis Let us all come together on World Hepatitis Day and create awareness in different parts of the world about the dreadful impact of Hepatitis on an individual’s life.
“Being vigilant about hepatitis can save many lives.”
Happy World Hepatitis Day!