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World Hepatitis Day (7/28/2024)

World Hepatitis Day (7/28/2024)

Key Facts

According to the World Hepatitis Alliance:

  • Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most commonly caused by a viral infection.
  • There are five main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D, and E.
  • These five types are of the greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread.
  • Every 30 seconds, someone dies from a viral hepatitis related illness. With the existing prevention, it is important to get tested and receive treatment.

World Hepatitis Day

World Hepatitis Day (WHD) takes places every year on July 28th. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), viral hepatitis affects more than 300 million people worldwide and leads to more than 1 million deaths each year. Despite effective vaccines, prevention strategies, and medications, deaths from hepatitis are increasing globally.

CDC, the World Health Organization, and other organizations around the world recognize WHD by raising awareness about viral hepatitis, the burdens people with hepatitis face, ongoing work to combat viral hepatitis across the globe, and actions people can take to prevent future transmission.

How it spreads

Viral hepatitis is infectious and can spread before a person knows they are sick. Each type of hepatitis spreads differently.

  • Hepatitis A is spread when someone ingests the virus – even in microscopic amounts. This usually occurs through close personal contact with an infected person, or by eating or drinking contaminated food or drink. Learn more about Hepatitis A prevention and control.
  • Hepatitis B is primarily spread when blood, semen, or certain other body fluids – even microscopic amounts – from a person infected with HBV enter the body of someone who is not infected. Learn more about Hepatitis B prevention and control.
  • Hepatitis C is spread when blood from a person infected with HCV – even microscopic amounts – enters the body of someone who is not infected. Learn more about Hepatitis C prevention and control.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of all types of viral hepatitis are similar and can include one or more of the following:

  • Dark urine or clay-colored stools
  • Diarrhea (hepatitis A only)
  • Feeling tired
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea, stomach pain, throwing up
  • Yellow skin or eyes (jaundice)

Symptoms of chronic viral hepatitis can take decades to develop.

Screening, Testing, and Diagnosis

Getting tested is the only way to know if you have hepatitis.

Hepatitis A

Your doctor can give you a blood test if you have symptoms and think you might have been exposed to HAV.

Hepatitis B

CDC recommends all adults get screened for Hepatitis B at least once in their lifetime through a blood test. There are also some people who should be tested more often, including:

  • All pregnant people during each pregnancy.
  • Infants born to pregnant people with HBV infection.
  • People with ongoing risk for exposures

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C usually doesn’t have symptoms. Getting testing is the only way to know if you have Hepatitis C. CDC recommends Hepatitis C testing for all adults, all pregnant persons, and for anyone who may have been recently exposed. If you have been diagnosed with Hepatitis C, see your doctor to start treatment right away.

Quick Links:

DHD#10 – Hepatitis C Screening, Treatment and Prevention
World Hepatitis Day
CDC – Viral Hepatitis
CDC – Viral Hepatitis Awareness
World Health Organization (WHO) – Hepatitis