World Hepatitis Day 2022
Many diseases kill people silently. Hepatitis is one of them. It kills scores of people every year. The records of WHO reveal that 820,000 deaths were caused by Hepatitis B in 2009. It was cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (primary liver cancer – Hepatitis B) that killed over eight hundred thousand people.
History of World Hepatitis Day
World Hepatitis Day is celebrated every year on the 28th of July around the globe. It aims to make people aware of the disease. During the 63rd World Health Assembly, 28th July was recognized as World Hepatitis Day. This day is being celebrated since May 2010.
The date was saved to honor the birthday of Nobel Laureate Baruch Samuel Blumberg, who discovered the hepatitis B virus. She also created a diagnostic test and vaccination for it.
What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is a disease that leads to inflammation of the liver tissues. Viral infection is the major reason behind Hepatitis, but there are other possible causes as well.
Excessive alcohol consumption, some medications, toxins, and certain medical conditions are some other causes of the disease.
Variants of Hepatitis
There are five different variants of Hepatitis that include A, B, C, D, and E. Whereas, Autoimmune hepatitis is a disease that occurs when your body makes antibodies against your liver tissue.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 354 million currently live with chronic hepatitis B and C globally. It’s high time for people to understand how dangerous Hepatitis can be for their health.
All five variants of Hepatitis are caused by different viruses. Let’s learn about them.
Hepatitis A is caused by an infection with the hepatitis A virus (HAV). This type of hepatitis is an acute, short-term disease.
Hepatitis B is caused by the B virus (HBV). This is often an ongoing, chronic condition. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that around 826,000 people are living with chronic hepatitis B only in the United States. Meanwhile, the count crosses 255 million globally.
Hepatitis C is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV is among the most common blood-borne viral infections in the United States and typically presents as a long-term condition.
According to the reports of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 2.4 million Americans are currently living with a chronic form of this infection.
Hepatitis D is a rare variant that only occurs when a hepatitis B infection is already in the body. The hepatitis D virus (HDV) causes liver inflammation like other strains, but a person cannot contract HDV without an existing hepatitis B infection.
Globally, 5% of people with chronic hepatitis B are affected by HDV.
Pollution is the cause of Hepatitis E. It is a waterborne disease that is caused by the hepatitis E virus (HEV). This variant is very common in places where there is poor sanitation. It typically results from ingesting fecal matter that contaminates the water supply.
Symptoms of Hepatitis
Hepatitis B and C are silent killers. There will be no symptoms until the damage affects liver function. However, people with acute hepatitis may present with symptoms shortly after contracting the hepatitis virus.
Following are some common symptoms of infectious hepatitis:
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Yellow skin and eyes, which may be signs of jaundice
- Flu-like symptoms
- Dark urine
- Pale stool
Protection from Hepatitis
We know you are worried about catching Hepatitis. Don’t worry! Some tips can help you in protecting yourself from this deadly disease.
Two things can help you in keeping Hepatitis away.
Vaccines have been helping mankind for ages. There are vaccines for Hepatitis as well. These vaccines make you immune to hepatitis viruses.
There are vaccines for Hepatitis A that can help you in protecting yourself from HAV. It’s a series of two doses injected into children aging 12 to 23 months. Adults can also get injected with this vaccine.
Moreover, vaccines for Hepatitis B are also available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends this vaccine for newborns. There are three doses administered by doctors over the first 6 months of childhood.
All the medical staff is also recommended to get vaccinated. The vaccine for Hepatitis B also prevents the body from catching Hepatitis D.
However, for Hepatitis C and E; there are no vaccines. Prevention is the only cure.
The second most important preventive measure is to reduce your exposure to these deadly viruses. It’s very crucial to understand that like Covid, these viruses can also transmit from person to person via bodily fluids, water, and foods containing infectious agents.
Try to practice effective hygiene as it can help in avoiding hepatitis A and E. These viruses are mainly found in water. So, make sure to stay away from dirty water and always drink clean water.
The Hepatitis B, C, and D viruses are usually transmitted through contact with bodily fluids that contain these infectious agents. Therefore, it is highly recommended for people to keep their personal belongings to themselves. Never share your razors, toothbrushes, or needles, and stay away from spilled blood.
Besides, sexual intercourse and sexual contact are also the major reason behind the spreading of Hepatitis B and C. It can be prevented by using barrier methods, such as condoms and dental dams, during sexual activities.
As we celebrate World Hepatitis Day 2022, WHO is concerned about the need of bringing hepatitis care closer to the primary health facilities and communities. The goal is to provide people with better access to treatment and care, no matter which type of hepatitis they are suffering from.
Hepatitis is a serious health disease that can take your life. Don’t take it lightly and get vaccinated. Regular blood tests are also important for a healthy life free from hepatitis. So, be aware and take care.