World Hepatitis Day 2020: Important Date, History, Significance, Causes and Symptoms of Hepatitis

World Hepatitis Day 2020: World Hepatitis Day is observed on July 28 every year to raise awareness about viral hepatitis and encourage a public from all over the world to eliminate hepatitis. Get the information about history, causes, and symptoms of hepatitis and the significance of World Hepatitis Day from this article.

Sheena | Updated Jun 23, 2020 14:57 PM

World Hepatitis Day 2020: Important Date, History, Significance, Causes and Symptoms of Hepatitis

World Hepatitis Day 2020

World Hepatitis Day is celebrated on July 28  to raise awareness of the disease that causes liver inflammation and claims about 1.4 million lives per year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the second-largest infectious disease killer after tuberculosis is hepatitis. 325 million people live with hepatitis B and hepatitis C. People who got newly infected in 2017 are 2,850,000. 80 percent of people living with hepatitis need prevention, testing, and treatment. Nine times more people are affected by hepatitis than HIV. 6 US$ billion Annual investment needed to achieve global elimination target 2030.

What is the history of World Hepatitis Day?

WHO started observing World Hepatitis Day initiate a global awareness campaign aimed at eradicating hepatitis from the world completely. Patient groups of European and Middle Eastern regions, earlier in 2004, observed it as International Hepatitis C Awareness Day. The World Hepatitis Alliance proclaimed 19 May as the first World Hepatitis Day in 2008.

The date was changed by the World Health Assembly in May 2010, to 28 July. The aim was to spread national and international level awareness about hepatitis. Particularly, July 28 was chosen as World Hepatitis Day to honor Nobel laureate Baruch Samuel Blumberg on his birthday, who discovered the virus of Hepatitis B.

What is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis refers to a liver inflammatory condition that is caused by a viral infection. But, some other potential causes of hepatitis are present. These include autoimmune hepatitis and hepatitis that occurs as a side-effect of medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol. Autoimmune hepatitis is a disease that happens when the body develops antibodies against the liver tissue.
Hepatitis are five types namely A, B, C, D, and E. Type A, B, and C are most common.

What are the causes of Hepatitis?

Each type of hepatitis is caused by different types of virus.

  1. Hepatitis A: It is caused by Hepatitis A virus. Most commonly transmitted by consuming food or water contaminated by feces from a person infected with hepatitis A.

  2. Hepatitis B: It is caused by the Hepatitis B virus. It is transmitted by contact with infectious body fluids such as blood, vaginal secretions, or semen which contain the hepatitis B virus.

  3. Hepatitis C: It is caused by the Hepatitis C virus. It s transmitted by direct contact with contaminated body fluids usually by injection and sexual contact.

  4. Hepatitis D: It is a serious liver disease caused by the Hepatitis D virus. It is transmitted through direct contact with infected blood.

  5. Hepatitis E: It is a waterborne disease caused by the Hepatitis E virus. It is present mainly in areas of inadequate sanitation and usually results from ingesting fecal matter that contaminates the water supply.

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis?

Hepatitis B and C do not have symptoms until it affects liver function. Some of the common symptoms are

  • Fatigue

  • Flu-like symptoms

  • Dark urine

  • Pale stool

  • Abdominal pain

  • Loss of appetite

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Jaundice

Hepatitis has a proper diagnosis and treatment method for each type. Early stages of diagnosis can prevent severe damage. Some of the prevention methods for hepatitis A and E are to avoid drinking unclean water, maintain proper hygiene like handwash. For hepatitis B, C, D don't share the razor, needles, and other personal items.

What is the World Hepatitis Day 2020 theme?

The theme for World Hepatitis Day 2020 is ‘Finding the Missing Millions’. 
Globally, 290 million people are living with viral hepatitis without knowing it. This will lead millions of people to suffer and lose their lives. The World Hepatitis Day 2020 theme focuses on calling on people from across the world to take action and raise awareness to find the ‘missing millions’.

What is the World Hepatitis Day 2019 theme?

The theme of World Hepatitis Day 2019 was ‘Invest in eliminating Hepatitis’. The theme focused on the hepatitis elimination goals by 2030, in the context of universal health coverage. The country that will host World Hepatitis Day 2019 was held in Pakistan.

What is the significance of World Hepatitis Day?

The significance of celebrating World Hepatitis Day is as follows:

  • To involve as many people as possible to focus on this issue together

  • To raising awareness  about various types of hepatitis and how they are transmitted

  • To educate people about hepatitis prevention, diagnosis, and control measures

  • To spread awareness of the vaccines for hepatitis A and B

  • Removing the social stigma associated with the disease

  • To get the people tested early on this disease

  • To raise awareness about the care and treatment for hepatitis sufferers.

  • To increase the number of medical professionals  to improve quality treatment

  • To promote the members of professional staff so that they can take part in the event

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World Hepatitis Day - FAQ

1. Why is World Hepatitis Day celebrated?

Each year on July 28, World Hepatitis Day seeks to raise global awareness of hepatitis and to educate people about hepatitis prevention, diagnosis, and control measures.

2. What is the main cause of hepatitis?

Hepatitis refers to a liver inflammatory condition that is caused by a viral infection. But, other potential causes of hepatitis are present. These include autoimmune hepatitis and hepatitis that occurs as a side-effect of medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol.

3. Which organ is affected by hepatitis?

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. The liver is a vital organ that processes nutrients, fights infections, and filters the blood. When the liver gets damaged, its function can be affected. Heavy alcohol use, some medications, toxins, and side-effects of medications can cause hepatitis.

4. When was the first World Hepatitis Day celebrated?

The World Hepatitis Alliance proclaimed 19 May as the first World Hepatitis Day in 2008. The date was changed by the World Health Assembly in May 2010, to 28 July. The aim was to spread national and international level awareness about hepatitis.

5. Why is July 28 chosen as World Hepatitis Day?

Particularly, July 28 was chosen as World Hepatitis Day to honor Nobel laureate Baruch Samuel Blumberg on his birthday, who discovered the virus of Hepatitis B.