July 28 – World Hepatitis Day

July 28 – World Hepatitis Day

World Hepatitis Day is observed on July 28 every year to raise awareness about viral hepatitis, an inflammatory liver disease that causes severe liver disease and liver cancer.

Currently, a new outbreak of acute hepatitis of unknown etiology is occurring in the world, which infects children. WHO, together with scientists and authorities in affected countries, is working to identify the causative agent of the infection, which cannot be attributed to any of the five known types of hepatitis virus – A, B, C, D or E.

The new outbreak is a reason to draw attention to cases of acute viral hepatitis, which infect thousands of children, adolescents and adults every year. In most patients, acute infectious hepatitis is mild and not even detected. However, in some cases it can lead to complications and death of the patient. In 2019 alone, complications from acute hepatitis types A–E are estimated to have killed 78,000 people worldwide.

Global efforts to combat hepatitis are designed to primarily eliminate infections with hepatitis B, C and D. These three infections, unlike acute viral hepatitis, cause chronic hepatitis, which lasts for decades and leads to the death of 1 million people annually from cirrhosis and liver cancer . These three chronic infections account for more than 95% of hepatitis deaths. We have methods and means for diagnosing, treating and preventing chronic viral hepatitis, however, such services are often inaccessible to the population and are often provided only centrally or in specialized medical institutions.

WHO has set a goal of eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030. To achieve this goal, WHO calls on countries to undertake a number of specific tasks:

  • reduce the number of new cases of hepatitis B and C infection by 90%;
  • reduce the number of deaths from cirrhosis and liver cancer by 65%;
  • ensure the detection of hepatitis B and C in at least 90% of such patients; and
  • provide adequate treatment to at least 80% of patients in need of treatment.

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