World Hepatitis Day
World Hepatitis Day in an international event focused on raising awareness about viral hepatitis and influencing real change in disease prevention and access to testing and treatment. The World Health Organization (WHO) established July 28th as the official global health awareness day in honour of hepatitis1.
- Viral hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver.
- There are 5 different hepatitis viruses, A, B, C, D & E.
- Hepatitis B, C and D cause long term (chronic) symptoms which can lead to life threatening complications such as cirrhosis (liver scarring), liver failure and liver cancer.
- In Canada it is estimated that 600,000 people have viral hepatitis, many of whom are unaware of their status.
- 1 in 12 people worldwide are living with viral hepatitis B or C.
- Hepatitis A is transmitted mainly through consuming food or water that has been contaminated by the feces of an infected person. There is vaccine for Hepatitis A.
- Hepatitis B is transmitted through body fluids and blood contact. There is a vaccine.
- Hepatitis C is transmitted through blood contact. It can have no symptoms until liver damage has progressed. There is no vaccine. Treatment drugs have been developed that have proven effective in curing Hepatitis C.
- Hepatitis E is transmitted the same as Hepatitis A, however, there is no treatment for Hepatitis E.
- Screening for viral hepatitis is essential to early diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
The Canadian Society for International Health (CSIH) coordinates World Hepatitis Day activities in Canada. This year’s theme is “Know your Status? Get tested – Learn your options”. The World Hepatitis Day Canada website has a variety of tools to help raise awareness in your community, promotional items you can use and a list of events in your area (which could include such activities as barbeques, activities for children, guest speakers, on site testing, vaccinations and information booths)4.
Please go to https://whdcanada.org for more information.