Every year on July 28th, World Hepatitis Day aims to increase the awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis as a major global health threat. All types of viral hepatitis can cause inflammation of the liver; however, hepatitis B and C infection can result in a lifelong, chronic infection.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nearly 400 million people have chronic viral hepatitis worldwide and most of them do not know they are infected. More than 1 million people die each year from causes related to viral hepatitis, commonly cirrhosis and liver cancer.
- Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus that can cause mild to severe illness but does not lead to chronic infection.
- Globally, there are an estimated 1.4 million cases of hepatitis A every year.
- The hepatitis A virus is spread by ingestion of contaminated food and water, or through direct contact with an infectious person.
- Hepatitis B is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus that can cause both acute and chronic disease.
- Globally, there are an estimated 240 million people living with chronic Hepatitis B.
- The hepatitis B virus is spread through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person.
- There is a safe and effective vaccine available to prevent Hepatitis B.
- The best way to prevent getting infected with Hepatitis B is to get vaccinated. In the United States, the Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all babies at birth and adults at risk of infection.
- Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus that can cause both acute and chronic disease.
- Globally, there are an estimated 130–150 million people living with chronic Hepatitis C.
- The hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus.
- There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C.