Every year on 28 July, World Hepatitis Day (WHD) is observed to raise awareness about viral hepatitis, its impact on the world and influence real change in people. In 2020 the theme is ‘Find the Missing Millions’. Today, there are nearly 300 million living with viral hepatitis. Their lives are in danger because they are not aware of their condition. We need to find the undiagnosed and connect them with proper care to save millions of lives.
We can do our part by educating ourselves and people around us about hepatitis and its various forms. Here are some facts to get you started:
- Hepatitis A,B,C,D, and E are the five different types of hepatitis virus which cause liver diseases.
- Symptoms of hepatitis include fatigue, fever, nausea, joint pain, jaundice, dark urine, light-colored stool, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and vomiting.
- The hepatitis A virus is found in the stool and blood of infected people.
- There is a vaccine for hepatitis A, which is effective and safe. It is given in 2 shots, six months apart.
- To prevent contracting heaptitis A, handwashing is very important.
- Hepatitis B is the most common serious liver infection around the world. 30 million people are affected by it every year .
- Hepatitis B gets passed on through blood and infected bodily fluids.
- Direct blood-to-blood contact, sex without protection, sharing needles for drug use, and from an infected woman to her newborn are different ways to contract hepatitis B.
- According to WHO, approximately 400 million people globally are already suffering from hepatitis B.
- It is dangerous to leave hepatitis C untreated. Doing so can cause cirrhosis, or even liver cancer and liver failure.
- Some people are unaware of being infected by hepatitis C until their liver is damaged.
- Unfortunately, hepatitis C does not have a vaccine, but there are some drugs available for its treatment.
- Hepatitis E infection is transmitted in humans via consumption of contaminated and improperly cooked pork meat.
- Hepatitis E is most commonly observed in East and South Asia.
- Hepatitis E infection in the third trimester can be fatal for almost 20–25% of pregnant women.
In order to prevent catching a hepatitis infection, vaccinate yourself. In addition to vaccination, there are other steps you can take:
- Always wash your hands clean after going to a washroom. Sanitize your hands if the come in contact with another person’s blood, stool, or other bodily fluids.
- Inform your doctor before traveling.
- Do not consume contaminated water and foods.
- Avoid eating raw or under cooked meat and fish.
- Make it a habit to wash all produce before consuming it.
- Refrain from sharing toothbrushes or razors.
- Stay away from illegal drugs.
- Take care of cuts and wounds. Clean them up and get it looked after.
Stay aware to stay healthy!
1. World Hepatitis Day-28 July 2020. Available at: https://www.worldhepatitisday.org/. Accessed on 27 July 2020.
2. 10 Facts about Hepatitis. Available at: https://www.mana.md/10-facts-about-hepatitis/. Accessed on 27 July 2020.
3. Hepatitis A. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/pdfs/HepAGeneralFactSheet.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0Tv3Kd5czb_3cVsRga65e2WW3rxI6oLj9InoAYJAlpsS7cgjLb8UF6_9U. Accessed on 27 July 2020.
4. Hepatitis B Fast Facts-Everything you need to know in 2 minutes or less! Available at: https://www.hepb.org/assets/Uploads/hep-b-fast-facts.pdf. Accessed on 27 July 2020.
5. 10 Facts Everyone Should Know About Hepatitis C.Available at: https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/10-essential-facts-about-hepatitis-c/. Accessed on 27 July 2020.
6. Hepatitis E. Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/hepatitis-e#:~:text=WHO%20estimates%20that%20hepatitis%20E,in%20East%20and%20South%20Asia. Accessed on 27 July 2020.