July 28, 2016 marks the onset of World Hepatitis Day (WHD), observed in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO), to raise awareness about the disease.
Hepatitis is, in layman terms, known as an inflammation of the liver and is a viral disease.
This year’s WHD is pivotal for viral hepatitis, since the World Health Assembly adopted the first-ever elimination strategy for the disease in May, thereby vowing to eradicate hepatitis as a public health threat by the year 2030.
The theme for World Hepatitis Day, 2016 is Elimination, owing to the goal that the WHO has set for itself.
That said, the first step to achieving that goal is to know about Hepatitis. Check out some facts about it right here!
1. As per the WHO, Hepatitis doesn’t have three, but five types – Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E.
2. Only Hepatitis B and C cause liver cancer and cirrhosis. Hepatitis A does not. However, Hep A can cause debilitating symptoms and fulminant hepatitis (acute liver failure), which is often fatal.
3. If a pregnant mother is infected with the virus, very early vaccination will prevent the disease from developing in her newborn child.
4. An amazing 90-95% of Hepatitis B patients contracted their disease not from sexual contact but from their mothers, during their infancy, as the virus is transmitted in childbirth.
5. The risk of hepatitis A infection is associated with a lack of safe water, and poor sanitation and hygiene (such as dirty hands).
6. More than 686 000 people die every year due to complications of hepatitis B, including cirrhosis and liver cancer.
7. Globally, between 130–150 million people globally have chronic hepatitis C infection, which is a bloodborne virus.
8. Chronic HBV (Hepatitis B virus) carriers are at risk for infection with HDV (Hepatitis D virus)
9. Hepatitis E is found worldwide, but the prevalence is highest in East and South Asia. The virus is transmitted via the faecal-oral route, principally via contaminated water.
10. There is no Hepatitis C vaccine.