Each year 28th July is celebrated as the World Hepatitis Day to spread awareness about Viral Hepatitis that leads to inflammation of the liver cells thereby causing severe liver disease and liver cancer. Viral hepatitis A, B, C, D & E are the ones that infect the human liver cells, A&E being transmitted feco-orally and B, C and D are transmitted parenterally (via blood). On World Hepatitis Day 2022, WHO has highlighted the need for bringing Hepatitis care closer to the primary health facilities and communities so that people have better access to treatment and care, no matter what type of hepatitis they may have.
The world is currently facing a new outbreak of unexplained acute Hepatitis infections affecting children. This outbreak brings our attention to thousands of acute viral hepatitis infections that occur among children, adolescents and adults every year. Most acute Hepatitis infections cause mild disease and even go undetected. Global efforts prioritize the elimination of the Hepatitis infections B, C and D infections. Unlike acute viral hepatitis, these 3 infections cause chronic hepatitis that lasts for several decades and culminate in over 1 million deaths per year from cirrhosis and liver cancer. These 3 types of chronic hepatitis infections are responsible for over 95% of hepatitis deaths.
The viral hepatitis infection is a cause of serious concern and the WHO aims to reduce the burden of new hepatitis B and C by 90% in the coming years. In its effort to do so the world health organization had laid down the path to reduce hepatitis deaths from liver cirrhosis and cancer by 65%, ensure that at least 90% of the people infected with hepatitis B and C are diagnosed well in time and 80% of the patients who require treatment receive appropriate treatment. We as individuals should be aware about these treatable viral infections so that timely diagnosis and treatment can help save lives.
Authored by Dr. Apurva Pande, Consultant - Hepatologist