On World Hepatitis Day, 28 July 2015, WHO and partners will urge policy-makers, health workers and the public to act now to prevent infection and death from hepatitis.
Viral hepatitis – a group of infectious diseases known as hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E – affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, causing acute and chronic liver disease and killing close to 1.5 million people every year, mostly from hepatitis B and C. These infections can be prevented, but most people don’t know how.
In May 2014, World Health Assembly delegates from 194 governments adopted a resolution to promote global action to prevent, diagnose, and treat viral hepatitis.
On World Hepatitis Day, events will take place around the world focussing on preventing hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
The date of 28 July was chosen for World Hepatitis Day in honour of the birthday of Nobel Laureate Professor Baruch Samuel Blumberg, discoverer of the hepatitis B virus and developer of the first hepatitis B vaccine.
Key messages of the World Hepatitis Day 2015
Prevent hepatitis – know the risks
Unsafe blood, unsafe injections, and sharing drug-injection equipment can all result in hepatitis infection.
Prevent hepatitis – demand safe injections
2 million people a year contract hepatitis from unsafe injections. Using sterile, single-use syringes can prevent these infections
Prevent hepatitis – vaccinate children
Approximately 780 000 persons die each year from hepatitis B infection. A safe and effective vaccine can protect from hepatitis B infection for life.
Prevent hepatitis – get tested, seek treatment
Effective medicines exist to treat hepatitis B and cure hepatitis C.