World Hepatitis Day is commemorated each year on 28 July to enhance awareness of viral hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver that causes a range of health problems, including liver cancer.
There are five main strains of the hepatitis virus – A, B, C, D and E. Together, hepatitis B and C are the most common cause of deaths, with 1.3 million lives lost each year. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, viral hepatitis continues to claim thousands of lives every day.
This year’s theme is “Hepatitis-free future,” with a strong focus on preventing hepatitis B among mothers and newborns. Last year, the theme of World Hepatitis Day was ‘Invest in eliminating hepatitis’.
Hepatitis C Facts
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused due to hepatitis C virus (HCV): the virus is capable of causing both acute and chronic hepatitis, varying in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifetime illness. Hepatitis C is a major cause of liver cancer.
Hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus: It is mostly caused by getting infected through exposure to small quantities of blood. Reasons such as injection drug use, unsafe injection practices, unsafe health care, transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products, and sexual practices often leading to exposure to blood.
An estimated 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C virus infection globally.
Most of those who are chronically infected will develop cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Antiviral medicines are capable of curing more than 95% of persons with hepatitis C infection, therefore reducing the risk of death from cirrhosis and liver cancer, but access to diagnosis and treatment remains low.
Till now, no effective vaccine against hepatitis C has been made; nevertheless, research is being carried out.