World Hepatitis Day Set for Next Week
There are an estimated 2.7 million to 3.9 million people living in the United States with chronic Hepatitis C, according to CDC.
World Hepatitis Day is being marked on July 28 again this year. Established by the World Health Organization to raise awareness and promote understanding of viral hepatitis, the seventh leading cause of death worldwide, it is the occasion for CDC and other health care and public health organizations to call attention to the toll the disease is responsible for: Together, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are responsible for most of the 1.4 million annual deaths attributed to viral hepatitis.
There are an estimated 2.7 million to 3.9 million people living in the United States with chronic hepatitis C and there are some 30,500 new infections every year, according to CDC. About 850,000 to 2.2 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis B and there are about 19,200 new infections annually.
There are vaccines for hepatitis A and B, but no vaccine exists for hepatitis C.
Earlier this year, the 69th World Health Assembly adopted a Global Viral Hepatitis Strategy that aims to eliminate hepatitis B and hepatitis C as public health threats by 2030. The strategy includes prevention and treatment targets that aim to save millions of lives. "The world has ignored hepatitis at its peril,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO's director-general. "It is time to mobilize a global response to hepatitis on the scale similar to that generated to fight other communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis." According to WHO, worldwide there are 400 million people infected with hepatitis B and C, more than 10 times more than those who are living HIV, and an estimated 1.45 million people died of the disease in 2013.
"Hepatitis" means inflammation of the liver. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can cause hepatitis. However, hepatitis is most often caused by a virus.
For additional information and resources, visit http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis.