Observed on July 28, World Hepatitis Day aims to raise global awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis, the diseases that it causes, besides honoring Nobel Laureate Dr. Baruch Samuel Blumberg, who identified Hepatitis B Virus and went onto develop its diagnostic test and vaccine.
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most commonly caused by a viral infection. There are five main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. These five types are of the greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause, and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread.
Viral hepatitis is a global health problem, and is one of the leading causes of death globally, accounting for 1.34 million deaths per year – comparable to HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Together, hepatitis B and C virus cause 80% of the liver cancer cases in the world.
It is not found in one location or amongst one set of people; it can affect millions of people without them even being aware. Currently, only 11% of people living with viral hepatitis are aware of their status.
With the availability of effective vaccines and treatments, the elimination of viral hepatitis is achievable. However, the greater awareness of the disease and risks is a must, along with proper access to cheaper diagnostics and treatment. Here’s an info graphic to help you understand and prevent Hepatitis: