World Hepatitis Day-Spread Awareness of the Causes, Conditions, and Cures of Hepatitis
One day alone isn’t enough to fully wage the fight against the disease of hepatitis. But, string enough of them together and you start to see a trend begin to emerge. Such has been the case since May 2010, when the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution designating July 28 as “World Hepatitis Day.” Every year, this special date on the calendar serves as an annual reminder to take notice of viral hepatitis as a critical domestic and international medical concern.
There are five types of hepatitis—A, B, C, D, and E—and although each has separate causes and symptoms requiring various treatments, the fact they all affect the liver is one thing they share in common. That’s no consolation because the disease is often extremely serious and sometimes deadly, but the good news is that hepatitis is generally treatable.
Causes of hepatitis can range from the use of injection drugs and close personal contact with infected people to ingestion of contaminated food or drinks among many others, but simple lab tests can steer you toward the right course of action.
Here’s a brief look at each form of the disease and what can be done about it (according to the CDC):
• Hepatitis A is caused by contact with infected liquids, food, people and/or objects, surfaces, etc. Although it seldom carries a fatal risk, it can cause severe damage to the sufferer. Yet, an ounce of prevention—in terms of better food safety, hygiene and vaccination practices —can usually supply the cure.
• Hepatitis B is generally passed from infected mothers to their babies during childbirth. Common in underdeveloped portions of the world, this type has been known to lead to cirrhosis of the liver and even cancer. Vaccination programs hold the most promise, and those in progress have already led to substantial declines in frequency across the globe.
• Hepatitis C infections are caused by contact with contaminated blood. More often than not, they happen through shared needle use or by way of unsanitary medical practices. People who contract this virus are likely to develop liver cirrhosis and cancer. Yet, with new treatments now available, more than 90% of those afflicted can beat back the disease within a few months.
• Hepatitis D can be prevented entirely by getting vaccinated against hepatitis B. The CDC reports that only those with hepatitis B as a pre-existing condition run the risk of contracting the more advanced form. So, it provides even greater incentive to support vaccination programs across all demographic categories.
• Hepatitis E proliferates through contaminated drinking water and poses a significant risk factor in cases of infant mortality around the world. As yet, no specific treatment is available (although a developmental vaccine is currently in use in China), but the condition usually clears in a matter of weeks for older children and adults.
CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis D, Hepatitis E, Hepatitis vaccination, liver damage, vaccination, Virus