World Hepatitis Day, 28th July 2017: Eliminate hepatitis
World Hepatitis Day is observed on July 28 every year to raise global awareness about hepatitis. The date of 28 July was chosen in honour of the birthday of Nobel Laureate Professor Baruch Samuel Blumberg, discoverer of the hepatitis B virus. World Hepatitis Day 2017, provides an opportunity to intensify the all efforts to implement the WHO’s global health sector strategy on viral hepatitis for 2016-2021, with the goal to eliminate viral hepatitis as a major public health threat by 2030 ( reducing new infections by 90% and mortality by 65%).
What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. The condition can be self-limiting or can progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer. Viral hepatitis is a group of infectious diseases caused by virus, known as hepatitis virus A, B, C, D, and E.
Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and water or through direct contact with an infectious person.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is transmitted through exposure to infective blood, semen, and other body fluids (activities such as reuse of needles and syringes either in health-care facilities or among persons who inject drugs, from infected mothers to infants at the time of birth or from family member to infant in early childhood and sexual contact with infected partner).
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) spreads through unsafe injection practices (by injection drug use, unsafe health care) and the transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products and children born to mothers infected with HCV.
Hepatitis D virus (HDV) is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person. HDV infection occurs only simultaneously or as super-infection with HBV.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is transmitted through consumption of contaminated water or food.
Key Messages for World Hepatitis Day, 2017
a) Viral hepatitis is a major global health problem and needs an urgent action. Globally about 325 million people are living with chronic hepatitis in 2015. India is fourth among 11 countries which carry almost 50% of the global burden of chronic hepatitis.
b) Hepatitis deaths are increasing. 1.34 million People died of viral hepatitis in 2015, as common as with TB deaths and exceeding deaths from HIV.
c) Very few of those infected accessed testing and treatment. Only 9% of HBV-infected people and 20% of HCV-infected people had been tested and diagnosed in 2015. Of those diagnosed with HBV infection, 8% were on treatment, while 7% of those diagnosed with HCV infection had started treatment in 2015
d) New hepatitis infections, mostly hepatitis C continue to occur. Hepatitis B infection in children reduced to 1.3% in 2015 after introduction of Hepatitis B vaccine, (it was 4.7% before introduction of hepatitis B vaccine). Infections with HCV in adults in 2015 continue to occur, mostly due to injecting drug use and unsafe injections in health care settings in certain countries.
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