HealthWorld Hepatitis Day: what should we know?

World Hepatitis Day: what should we know?

World Hepatitis Day: what should we know?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has held that “World Hepatitis Day on 28 July 2017 is an opportunity to add momentum to all efforts to implement the WHO's first global health sector strategy on viral hepatitis for 2016-2021 and help the Member States achieve the final goal - to eliminate hepatitis.” All the activities and campaigns made during this day will be aimed at inspiring actions and acquire commitment at all levels: governmental, social, local, and individual-familiar.    

Along with HIV, tuberculosis or malaria, “the viral hepatitis is one of the leading causes of death globally, accounting for 1.34 million deaths per year.” When it comes to viral hepatitis, the biggest concern is that people can be affected without being aware. “Currently, 90% of people living with hepatitis B and 80% living with hepatitis C are not aware of their status,” explain the World Hepatitis Alliance.

At the same time, WHO has pointed out that achieving "the 2030 elimination goal is not overly ambitious; reports from 28 high-burden countries give cause for optimism.” In short, learning about what hepatitis is will be how we can prevent it in our daily living.

The World Hepatitis Alliance defines hepatitis as: “an inflammation of the liver caused by a virus. There are five different hepatitis viruses, hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E.” The first type of hepatitis is “spread mainly through eating food or drinking water contaminated.” To prevent hepatitis A, it is necessary to have good hygiene and sanitation practices as well as to have the hepatitis A vaccine.

Both hepatitis A and hepatitis E are acquired by the lack of hygiene and care of the foods and beverages consumed as well as poor sanitation.

The hepatitis B is the second way we can affect our body. It is characterized for being “transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids (i.e. saliva, semen and vaginal fluid) of an infected person. It can be passed on from mother to child during childbirth.”

The World Hepatitis Alliance also recommends:

“If you have not been vaccinated, to reduce chances of exposure it is best to use condoms, and to avoid sharing needles or items such as toothbrushes, razors or nail scissors with an infected person. It is also wise to avoid getting tattoos or body piercings from unlicensed facilities. Children born to mothers infected with hepatitis B should also be vaccinated within 12 hours of birth, as this can prevent an infection that will most likely progress to chronic hepatitis B.”

Note that not only are there many kinds of drugs and antivirals which can contain hepatitis B but also keep in mind that when it comes to hepatitis D, it is possible to say that such hepatitis is only found in people who are already infected with the hepatitis B virus. So be careful not to get hepatitis B so you can lower the risk of getting hepatitis D.

In the case of hepatitis C, the picture is different since there is no vaccination for this type of hepatitis. The recommendation continues to be prevention and care to reduce the risk of contracting hepatitis through blood-to-blood contact. However, if you are infected, timely treatment with antivirals and other procedures will help you.

In some cases, suffering from this disease can be fatal. Be aware of this disease, keep in mind that we can all acquire it, and use all the necessary mechanisms so that you or your loved ones are not victims of hepatitis.

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