According to the reports from the World Health Organization (WHO), 400 million people are living with hepatitis B and C worldwide, while 1.4 million die due to these infections every year.
In 2010, WHO decided to observe July 28 every year as World Hepatitis Day. This particular date was chosen in honor of the birthday of Nobel Laureate Professor Baruch Samuel Blumberg, discoverer of the hepatitis B virus and developer of the first hepatitis B vaccine. This annual campaign aims at raising awareness among the general public and infected patients and urgently promotes improved access to hepatitis services, particularly prevention interventions, by policymakers.
The theme of the 2015 campaign theme is the prevention of viral hepatitis. WHO and partners will urge policy-makers, health workers and the public to act now to prevent infection and death from this disease. Events will take place around the world focusing on preventing hepatitis B and C.
Events and activities aimed at preventing this infectious disease will take place all over the world. The key messages that World Hepatitis DAY 2015 has for the public are:
- Know the risks of unsafe blood and injections – Sharing drug-injection equipment such as needles and syringes can all result in infection.
- Demand safe injections – About 2 million people a year contract hepatitis from unsafe injections. Use of sterile, single-use syringes and quality needles can prevent such infections.
- Vaccinate children – A safe and effective vaccine can protect from hepatitis B infection for life. Approximately 780,000 persons die each year from this infection.
- Get tested and seek treatment – Effective medicines are available treat hepatitis B and cure hepatitis C.
The disease is diagnosed based on a physical examination and the results of blood tests. A recently developed DNA based blood test called VirScan uses just a single drop of blood to identify all the viruses that people have ever had in their lifetime. The researchers say it provides a better understanding the interaction between the human immune system and infectious viruses causing hepatitis C, HIV, and other serious viral infections.