What is World Hepatitis Day?
Every year, 28th of July month is celebrated as World Hepatitis Day to create awareness of the virus hepatitis among general population regarding etiology, transmission, symptoms, complications, prevention and cure.
World Hepatitis Day is one of the eight health campaigns launched by The World Health Organization. The day is endorsed by the World Health Organization in collaboration with the medical professionals, government organizations, NGOs and general public to eliminate hepatitis.
Hepatitis is a general term which refers to inflammation of liver.There are several reasons which may cause hepatitis. However,when the causative agent of hepatitis is a virus, called as viral hepatitis. There are five strains hepatitis virus viz. A, B, C, D, E.
Surveys conducted by WHO revealed high rates of mortality and morbidity due to hepatitis.Figures are alarming andraising day by day. However, a large proportion of population don’t have the adequate resources to even get diagnosed.
Worldwide, approximately 325 million people are living with chronic hepatitis B (HBV) or chronic hepatitis C (HCV).
In India around 40 million people are chronically infected with HBV and 6-12 million are suffering from HCV, which represents 40% and 20% of the hepatitis B and C burden respectively in South-East Asian Region. Data is quite stagerring. HBV and HBC together comprise of 80% cases of liver cancer in the world.
Indian film industry legend Amitabh Bacchhan too suffered from acute form of hepatitis B and by the time the diagnosis was made, his liver was only 25% functional. He got infected through the infected blood he received after a serious injury during the shooting of his movie ‘Cooli’, for which around 200 people had donated blood. Now, Amitabh Bacchhan is UNICEF ambassador for Hepatitis B awareness programme.
How can we get Hepatitis Infection?
- Contaminated food or water- Hepatitis A & Hepatitis E
- Sexual transmission, Infected blood transfusion and sharing syringes- Hepatitis B & Hepatitis C
- Infected blood transfusion and contaminated syringes- Vertical transmission (mother to child)
- A person can become infected with hepatitis D only if already infected with hepatitis B.
Symptoms of Hepatitis Infection
- Type A symptoms are often similar to a flu virus. But most cases resolve within a month.
- Most people with Hepatitis B and C, D and E are not aware of their status as the disease in the initial phase has barely any symptoms. Creating awareness, therefore, is a priority
- Hepatitis B and C can cause sudden illness. However, they can lead to liver cancer or a chronic infection that can lead to serious liver damage called cirrhosis.
Prevention from Hepatitis Infection
- One way to protect you from hepatitis virus is to remain clean. Always wash your hands and wear clean clothes. Fruits and vegetables should be cleaned and washed before eating. Boil river or lake water.
- Avoid contamination of food and drinking water
- Vaccines are available for hepatitis A and B, but not C.Through the Health Ministry’s flagship program of Mission Indradhanush, the government plans to vaccinate all children (up to the age of two years) by 2020 for seven diseases that include Hepatitis B
- Proper screening of stored blood and body fluid
- Avoid unprotected sex,sex with multiple partners ,sharing syringes
- All medical and dental practitioners,workers in blood banks,employees who come in direct contact of blood and body fluids should be vaccinated.
Aim of World Hepatitis Day
- It encourages individuals, and public to know about the hepatitis virus and its hams that it can cause
- It raises awareness of the different forms of hepatitis viruses and the way they are transmitted
- Hepatitis B and C are the two of its viruses that mostly affect. So the World Hepatitis Day increases hepatitis B vaccine coverage into national immunisation programmers
Why is Hepatitis Day Important?
Virus Hepatitis directly affects liver and is one of the most dangerous viruses, and causes deaths of millions of people every year. There are four types of hepatitis viruses, A. B, C and D. Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C together cause 80% of liver cancer in the world.
Hepatitis is an epidemic disease which is not restricted to one place. It can spread to another place and can infect those who are not even aware of this. Many people have hepatitis B or hepatitis C in their body but they are not even aware of this.
People are not aware with the type of vaccines and treatments are available for the cure of hepatitis. The World Health Day creates awareness of treatments so that they can take precautionary steps on time before it turns fatal.
World Health Day is now recognised in over 100 countries each year though poster campaigns, screenings, concerts, presentations, talk, flash mobs, vaccination drives and in many other ways that could effectively impact on a larger scale. Every year World Health Organisation (WHO) creates a report detailing all the events across the world.