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World Hepatitis Day 2023: History, significance, symptoms and more

World Hepatitis Day aims to raise awareness about viral hepatitis and finding ways to prevent, test and treat the disease. Reports say someone dies every 30 seconds globally due to hepatitis

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Sudeep Singh Rawat New Delhi

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Every year World Hepatitis Day is celebrated on July 28 to create awareness and educate people all over the world about the effects of viral hepatitis, a disease-causing inflammation in the liver. 

According to the American National Institute of Health, 4 to 43 out of 100,000 adults and 2 to 10 out of 100,000 children have autoimmune hepatitis.

Reports suggest that someone dies every 30 seconds globally due to hepatitis or other related illness. This makes it necessary to start awareness campaigns throughout the world. 

Hence, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has designated World Hepatitis Day as one of the eight health days every year to provide prevention, testing and treatment to support those affected by hepatitis.

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World Hepatitis Day 2023: Significance

Viral hepatitis could lead to live ailments and liver cancer. Every year, more than 13 lakh people lose their lives due to viral Hepatitis B & C.  The objective to observe World Hepatitis Day is to make people aware of the fatal impacts of this viral disease and successfully move towards a Hepatitis-free future.

The day aims to inform people around the world about the vaccination against Hepatitis B and prevent the transmission of infection from one person to another. 

World Hepatitis Day encourages the world to coordinate and work in the direction of WHO's target to eradicate viral hepatitis as a significant public health hazard by 2030.  WHO aims to greater immunisation, early diagnosis and better health care service to eliminate these fatal diseases. 

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The day plays a significant role in testing and treating viral Hepatitis so that liver ailment and deadly cancer diseases could be prevented.

World Hepatitis Day 2023: History

World Hepatitis Day was first observed on May 19, 2008, and is organised by World Hepatitis Alliance. The Alliance was established in the year 2007. Later, the day was moved to July 28, 2010, to honour the birthday of American Physician, Dr Baruch Samuel Blumberg, who discovered Hepatitis B in the 1960s. He also made some groundbreaking contributions to the research by discovering the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and developing a diagnostic test and vaccine. 

The day enhances national and international efforts against hepatitis, encourages action, and involves individuals, partners and the public. WHO is committed to eradicating hepatitis diseases by 2030.

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis?

Many people don't even know that they are going through with the disease as many people with hepatitis do not have any symptoms. The acute infection symptoms can appear anytime between 2 to 6 weeks after exposure to Hepatitis.  

The acute hepatitis symptoms are fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, light-coloured stools, joint pain, and jaundice. On the other hand, chronic viral hepatitis could take decades to develop.

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First Published: Jul 28 2023 | 11:05 AM IST

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