Did you know July 28th marks World Hepatitis Day? It is in fact one of only 4 officially recognised health days.
Viral Hepatitis is the world’s eighth biggest killer with over 1.5 million people dying every year from it – that is equal to the amount of people killed by HIV/AIDS yet it gets much less publicity.
There are five different types of virus that come under the Hepatitis umbrella, each one causes inflammation of the liver but can be caught and is treated in a different way, many of them can be easily prevented, through awareness, care and the passing on of knowledge.
Mainly transmitted by the eating or drinking of food or fluid that has been contaminated by faeces of those with hep A, as well as being caught through the eating of raw shellfish that has been contaminated by sewage. Hepatitis A can be prevented by vaccine and the risk of infection can also be reduced by practising good personal hygiene and sanitation. As this form of hepatitis causes acute hepatitis, in most cases the body is able to clear the infection itself within a matter of weeks, however it can sometimes lead to complications.
This form of the virus is mainly transmitted by contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person; it can also be passed from mother to child during childbirth. There is a vaccine against hepatitis B, if however you haven’t received the injection the best way to avoid exposure is to not share any item that could carry the virus, such as toothbrushes, needles and of course wearing condoms while having sex. Drugs can help slow down the replication of the virus in a few cases they may lead to clearance; children born to Mother’s with hepatitis B should receive a vaccine within 12 hours which can help to infection forming and it progressing to chronic hepatitis B.
Hepatitis C is mainly passed via blood to blood contact, though on rare occasions it can be passed in childbirth, there is no vaccine against this strain of the virus and therefore the need to try and reduce exposure by being careful not to share items such as razors, nail scissors and toothbrushes etc should be avoid with those already carrying the virus, also never getting tattoos and piercings from unlicensed venues. The treatment for this virus aims to eradicate it from the body – however the success it dependent on a person’s genotype.
This virus is spread through contact with infected blood and is only found in people already infected with hepatitis B. To reduce the risk of exposure people should avoid the sharing of needles, toothbrushes, nail scissors etc with those already infected. While the condition may improve with the administration of a-interferon, there is no effective antiviral treatment for hepatitis D.
Hepatitis E is mainly transmitted by the eating or drinking of food or fluid that has been contaminated by faeces of those with, or by eating raw shellfish which has come from water contaminated by sewage. Currently there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis E, so it is a matter of trying to reduce the risk by practising good hygiene and sanitation. There is no current treatment for hepatitis E.
So what can you do this July 28th to raise awareness of Viral Hepatitis?
They are asking that you sign up to their thunderclap – at 12pm on July 28th they are sending out the message via social media that 100’s of million have chronic hepatitis and 1.4 million are dying every year. To take part all you need to do is sign up now and when the time comes the message will automatically send out to your twitter. Facebook, Tumblr or all 3.
They were hoping for 100 people to sign up, with just 6 days to nearly 500 people have, so lets all get together and share a little something about hepatitis and help raise the awareness of this awful virus.
Or give this video a watch it’s quite a catchy tune!