World Hepatitis Day: Prevent hepatitis. Act now
On World Hepatitis Day, 28 July 2015, WHO and partners will urge policy-makers, health workers and the public to act now to prevent infection and death from hepatitis.
The theme for this year’s World Hepatitis Day is “Prevent hepatitis. Act now”.
Viral hepatitis is caused by 5 distinct hepatitis viruses. Infection from these viruses results in approximately 1.45 million deaths each year. These viruses are transmitted through contaminated water and food, as well as by contact with blood or bodily fluids, through unsafe injections or transfusions. Infection also occurs from a mother to a child, or through sexual contact. Infection through all these routes of transmission can be prevented through proven and effective interventions. It is important for everyone to be aware of hepatitis and to learn how they can protect themselves from being infected.
Viral hepatitis – a group of infectious diseases known as hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E – affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, causing acute and chronic liver disease and killing close to 1.5 million people every year, mostly from hepatitis B and C. These infections can be prevented, but most people don’t know how.
The date of 28 July was chosen for World Hepatitis Day in honour of the birthday of Nobel Laureate Professor Baruch Samuel Blumberg, discoverer of the hepatitis B virus and developer of the first hepatitis B vaccine.
Key messages of the World Hepatitis Day 2015
Prevent hepatitis – know the risks
Unsafe blood, unsafe injections, and sharing drug-injection equipment can all result in hepatitis infection.
Prevent hepatitis – demand safe injections
2 million people a year contract hepatitis from unsafe injections. Using sterile, single-use syringes can prevent these infections
Prevent hepatitis – vaccinate children
Approximately 780 000 persons die each year from hepatitis B infection. A safe and effective vaccine can protect from hepatitis B infection for life.
Prevent hepatitis – get tested, seek treatment
Effective medicines exist to treat hepatitis B and cure hepatitis C.
Source of Information:World Health Organization