World Hepatitis Day: Think Again

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This year marks the 7th annual World Hepatitis Day as the same date as the birthday of Nobel Laureate Professor Blumberg who discovered Hepatitis B. Every year on 28 July, WHO and partners mark World Hepatitis Day to increase the awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis and the diseases that it causes. Moreso, the celebration aims at encouraging people to find out the facts about Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C – and by doing this help decrease the stigmas attached to the viruses. This is because there is still no vaccine and it’s important that people are more in the know about exactly how dangerous hepatitis is and what it does.

Viral Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E – affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, causing acute and chronic liver disease and killing close to 1.4 million people every year. But hepatitis remains largely ignored or unknown. In April this year, WHO issued new recommendations on treatment of Hepatitis C. In May, World Health Assembly delegates from 194 governments adopted a resolution to improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of viral hepatitis.

On this day, Stakeholders, policymakers, health workers and the public around the world should ‘Think again’ about this silent killer.

World Hepatitis Day provides an opportunity to focus on specific actions, such as:

  • Strengthening prevention, screening and control of viral hepatitis and its related diseases;
  • Increasing hepatitis B vaccine coverage and integration of the vaccine into national immunization programmes;
  • Coordinating a global response to viral hepatitis.


Hepatitis A is associated with a lack of safe water and poor sanitation and there is an estimated 1.4 million cases very year(WHO)

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that 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. More than 780 000 people die every year due to the consequences of hepatitis B. (WHO)

Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus: the virus can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis infection, ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. The hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus and the most common modes of infection are through unsafe injection practices; inadequate sterilization of medical equipment in some health-care settings; and unscreened blood and blood products. Around 130-170 million people on the planet have Hepatitis C (WHO)

Hepatitis D or delta hepatitis is caused by the hepatitis delta virus (HDV), a defective RNA virus. HDV requires the help of a hepadnavirus like hepatitis B virus (HBV) for its own replication.

Every year there is an estimated 20 million hepatitis E infections, over 3 million acute cases of hepatitis E, and 56 600 hepatitis E-related deaths. Hepatitis E is usually self-limiting but may develop into fulminant hepatitis (acute liver failure). The hepatitis E virus is transmitted via the faecal-oral route, principally via contaminated water.(WHO)

Viral hepatitis kills 1.5 million people worldwide each year. That’s as many people as HIV/AIDS.

Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer. Liver cancer is the second biggest cancer killer.

Symptoms of viral hepatitis often go unnoticed. Get tested.

Viral hepatitis can be avoided. Know the risks

Viral hepatitis can be treated. Everybody deserves the chance.

Viral hepatitis can be prevented. Vaccinate your children.


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