World Hepatitis Day, 28th July 2019

World Hepatitis Day, 28th July 2019

World Hepatitis Day is celebrated globally on 28th July every year with a view to boosting national and international efforts to control hepatitis and increasing public awareness and understanding of the disease and its related complications.

The date 28th July was chosen for World Hepatitis Day in honour of the birthday of Nobel Laureate Professor Baruch Samuel Blumberg, who discovered the Hepatitis B virus and developed the first Hepatitis B vaccine

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. This condition can be self-limiting or can progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis in the world but other infections, toxic substances (e.g. alcohol, certain drugs), and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis.

There are 5 main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. Types B and C lead to chronic disease and together are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.

Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water or poor sanitation.

Hepatitis B, C and D viruses are transmitted through contact with the blood by sharing others’ sharp equipment without sterilization, unsafe injection practices, inadequate sterilization of medical equipment, and transfusion of unsafe blood or its products. Hepatitis B transmission also occurs from mother to baby at birth, from family member to child, and by sexual contact.
Hepatitis D virus (HDV) infection is associated with suppressed Hepatitis B virus (HBV) replication.

Acute infection may occur and may include symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Hepatitis A and B vaccination is recommended for the prevention of viruses C and D.