World Hepatitis Day
World Hepatitis Day (WHD) is recognized annually on July 28th, the birthday of Dr. Baruch Blumberg (1925–2011). Dr. Blumberg discovered the hepatitis B virus in 1967, 2 years later he developed the first hepatitis B vaccine.
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most 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 greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread.
Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water.
Hepatitis B, C and D usually occur because of parenteral contact with infected body fluids.
Common modes of transmission for these viruses include receipt of contaminated blood or blood products, invasive medical procedures using contaminated equipment and for hepatitis B transmission from mother to baby at birth, from family member to child, and by sexual contact.
Non-viral hepatitis can be caused by medications, heavy alcohol intake, and toxins. It can also occur due to autoimmune diseases.
WHO aims to achieve hepatitis elimination by 2030. To get there, WHO calls on countries to achieve specific targets:
- Reduce new infections of hepatitis B and C by 90%;
- Reduce hepatitis related deaths from liver cirrhosis and cancer by 65%;
- Ensure that at least 90% of people with hepatitis B and C virus are diagnosed;
- At least 80% of those eligible receive appropriate treatment.
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