World Hepatitis Day 2022: Frequently Asked Questions

What is Hepatitis? 

Hepatitis is a viral infection that results in inflammation of the liver. There are 5 types of hepatitis namely A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis B and C are the most common causes of chronic hepatitis, both globally and in India.

Why Hepatitis Day is celebrated?

World Hepatitis Day (WHD) is observed every year on July 28th. This marks the birthday of Dr. Baruch Blumberg (1925–2011).

Who is Dr. Blumberg?

Dr. Blumberg won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1976. He discovered the hepatitis B virus in 1967. Two years later he developed the first hepatitis B vaccine.

What is the purpose?

World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), observe this day in order to raise awareness about viral hepatitis, which impacts more than 354 million people worldwide. WHD creates an opportunity to educate people about the burden of these infections, CDC’s efforts to combat viral hepatitis around the world, and actions people can take to prevent these infections.

What is the impact of Hepatitis?

Hepatitis affects millions of people worldwide, causing both acute and chronic liver disease. This disease causes more than one million deaths each year. While deaths from tuberculosis and HIV have been declining, deaths from hepatitis are increasing.

What is the vision of observing this day?

The vision is to eliminate viral hepatitis globally. CDC collaborates with international partners to help countries experiencing high rates of infection to prevent, control, and eliminate viral hepatitis.

What is the importance of Hepatitis Immunization?

Every 30 seconds a person is dying from a hepatitis-related illness, with over 1.1 million global mortalities caused by both hepatitis B and C infections.

In India, it is estimated that approximately 45 million people suffer from hepatitis B and 15 million from hepatitis C. If left untreated, the infection develops into serious illnesses like cancer and liver failure requiring surgery and liver transplants. Timely diagnosis of liver cirrhosis/cancer can lead to better management of the condition and survival rate for the patient. Therefore, it is crucial to create awareness around viral hepatitis, its impact on the liver, symptoms and treatment options.

‘Prevention is better than cure’ 

It’s high time to make responsible and informed choices, lead risk-free life by adopting a healthier lifestyle and get timely treatment of viral hepatitis with antiviral drugs. Hepatitis B is one of the major causes of liver cancer and can be prevented by universal immunization against Hepatitis B.

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