Every year on July 28, World Hepatitis Day (WHD) is a means to make people aware of viral hepatitis, which can cause fatal liver disease and hepatocellular cancer. Hepatitis has many variants such as Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. The WHO has a significant health concern for India. In 2002, India had about 4 crore people were affected by Hepatitis B, 60 lakh to 1.2 crore people are affected by the C variant, and about 2,50,000 individuals die due to viral hepatitis.

Theme: This year the theme is “Hepatitis can’t wait”. So that people can take a step to cure the fatal disease and so that people get saved from dying because of this disease. The WHO wishes to eliminate hepatitis as a treat to people.

History: This day is marked as the birthday of Dr. Baruch Blumberg, the Nobel Prize-winning scientist. It is to honor the scientist because he had discovered the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). He had developed a vaccine as well as a vaccine to treat the fatal disease.

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Cause: Among all the variants, Hepatitis A is a short-term disease while B, C, and D are chronic and are caused often. The last one Hepatitis E is acute but dangerous and chronic in pregnant ladies.

Hepatitis A is caused due to contaminated food or water; B and C are caused due to bodily fluids namely semen, blood, or vaginal secretion. Delta Hepatitis or Hepatitis D is a blood-borne disease that is transmitted through direct contact with blood. Whereas the waterborne variant, Hepatitis E is common due to lack of sanitation and clean water supply.

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Non-infectious Hepatitis is caused due to excessive drinking of alcohol or other toxins, and faulty autoimmune system response.

Symptoms: Hepatitis causes interference in liver functioning, causing cancer, liver damage, kidney disease, inflammation of blood disease, and cirrhosis. Other common symbols of this infection are pale stool, sudden weight loss, abdominal pain, fatigue, yellowing of the skin, other flu-like symptoms, loss of appetite, and dark-colored urine.

Treatment: For Hepatitis A and B there are no specific treatments, people get cured by rest and hydration. For Hepatitis C, an antiviral medication, for D and E supportive care is a must. In case of liver damage, replacement of the liver is the only option. Research is being done on medications and therapies that may help.

Also read: Hepatitis B Vaccination: Know why you must not skip it

Prevention: Awareness is the key, protected intercourse, good sanitation, hygienic food, and vaccine can protect Hepatitis. Besides using these measures, avoiding large amounts of alcohol, sharing dirty needles to inject drugs or medicines, and taking precautions before or while getting piercings or tattoos. 

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