“Hepatitis can’t wait!” is the theme of 2021. In commemoration of this day let’s learn more about hepatitis and raise awareness.
What is hepatitis?
Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver. There are several types of hepatitis viruses such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, hepatitis D, and hepatitis E. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can cause hepatitis. In some cases, in some viruses, hepatitis can be also sexually transmitted. Most common types of hepatitis are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Hepatitis affects millions of people worldwide, causing acute and chronic disease. According to the World Hepatitis Day, hepatitis B and C kills 1.4 million people every year- more than malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculose.
- Hepatitis A: This type of hepatitis is most commonly transmitted by consuming food or water contaminated by feces from a person infected with hepatitis A.
- Hepatitis B: It is transmitted through contact with infectious body fluids, such as blood, vaginal secretions, or semen, containing the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Injection drug use, having sex with an infected partner, or sharing razors with an infected person increase your risk of getting hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis C: Hepatitis C is transmitted through direct contact with infected body fluids, typically through injection drug use and sexual contact.
- Hepatitis D: It is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis D virus (HDV). HDV is contracted through direct contact with infected blood. Hepatitis D is a rare form of hepatitis that only occurs in conjunction with hepatitis B infection.
- Hepatitis E: Hepatitis E is mainly found in areas with poor sanitation and typically results from ingesting fecal matter that contaminates the water supply. This disease is uncommon in the United States. However, cases of hepatitis E have been reported in the Middle East, Asia, Central America, and Africa.
Common symptoms of hepatitis:
Many people with hepatitis do not have symptoms and do not know they are infected. If symptoms occur with an acute infection, they can appear anytime from 2 weeks to 6 months after exposure. Symptoms of chronic viral hepatitis can take decades to develop. Common symptoms include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Dark urine
- Unexplained weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Joint pain
What is World Hepatitis Day?
World Hepatitis Day is one of the 11 official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO). World Hepatitis Day works with governments, national members and other key partners to raise awareness, influence policy change, increase hepatitis B vaccine coverage into immunization programmes. It also strengthens prevention, screening, and control of viral hepatitis and its related diseases. This organization focuses on different themes each year and this year’s (2021) theme is “ Hepatitis can’t wait!”. They host various campaigns and events to make the voices of people with hepatitis heard.
Learning about hepatitis and sharing these information with your friends and family will have a major influence in raising awareness. We can’t change the world all at once, but we can do it with small steps if we work together. Hepatitis Can’t Wait!
Kahn, April. “Hepatitis.” Healthline, 9 May 2017, http://www.healthline.com/health/hepatitis#symptoms.
“What Is Viral Hepatitis?” World Hepatitis Day, http://www.worldhepatitisalliance.org/what-viral-hepatitis-0. Accessed 28 July 2021.
“What Is Viral Hepatitis? | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 July 2020, http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/abc/index.htm.
“Who We Are.” World Hepatitis Alliance, http://www.worldhepatitisalliance.org/who-we-are. Accessed 28 July 2021.
Wikipedia contributors. “World Hepatitis Day.” Wikipedia, 28 July 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Hepatitis_Day.
“World Hepatitis Day 2021 – Hepatitis Can’t Wait.” World Health Organization, 28 July 2021, http://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2021/07/28/default-calendar/world-hepatitis-day-2021.