World Hepatitis Day

World Hepatitis Day promotes awareness and understanding of the viral disease as a global public health problem.

World Viral Hepatitis Day has been celebrated by the World Health Organization (WHO) every July 28 since 2008.

The purpose of this celebration is to promote awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis as a global public health problem and to strengthen action to prevent and control the disease worldwide. By celebrating this day, WHO aims to achieve several objectives on a global scale:

  • To reduce the likelihood of new hepatitis A, B, C, or E infections by 90%.
  • To prevent 65% of the deaths caused by this disease each year.

What is viral hepatitis?

Viral hepatitis is an infection that causes acute inflammation of the liver. In most cases, the inflammation of the liver starts suddenly and lasts only a few weeks.

There are 4 different types of hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, and E.

Hepatitis A is contracted from food or water contaminated with the virus. The main route of transmission is fecal-oral, especially in countries with poor hygiene and contaminated water.

Hepatitis B, through contact with blood and/or body fluids, unprotected sexual intercourse, sharing of syringes and personal hygiene items (toothbrushes, razors), acupuncture, tattooing and/or body piercing in poor sanitary conditions, and from mother to child during childbirth and breastfeeding.

Hepatitis C is also spread by contact with the blood of a person infected with the virus.

Together, hepatitis B and C are the leading cause of death, with 1.4 million deaths annually.

In the absence of vaccination, hepatitis B is the most commonly diagnosed form of hepatitis, which in most cases is an acute infection that resolves completely, although it can sometimes become chronic. Hepatitis C is the most chronic and most commonly progresses to cirrhosis.

Most cases of hepatitis E are zoonotic and mainly associated with pigs. The infection is transmitted to humans by eating undercooked contaminated meat and can cause acute hepatitis.

In Spain, hepatitis is a Notifiable Disease (NDD), which means that it must be reported to the System of Notifiable Diseases, the basic system of the Epidemiological Surveillance Network.

In Spain, almost one and a half million people are carriers of the hepatitis B or C virus, although only 10% know it.