World Hepatitis Day – July 28th, 2018

July 28th, 2018 is World Hepatitis Day with the theme "Find the Missing Millions”. The World Hepatitis Alliance estimates that there are 300 million people who are unaware that they are infected with Hepatitis B or C. Because of these numbers, Hepatitis has been called "one of the biggest global health threats of our time”. 1.34 million deaths worldwide are attributed to viral Hepatitis – as many as HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Hepatitis B and C are also said to cause eighty percent of liver cancers world-wide.

World Hepatitis Day was developed to raise global awareness of the disease, the importance of testing, and the good news that cures for Hepatitis C and vaccines for Hepatitis B exist. However diagnosis is still a problem, and without diagnosis, treatment is delayed or never started. If an individual does not know their hepatitis status there is the real possibility that a person could develop liver cancer or transmit the infection to others. Unlike Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and C are transmitted through sexual contact, health care needle stick injuries, the sharing of needles and equipment by IV drug users, and from mother to baby during pregnancy.

Hepatitis is one of just four disease-specific global awareness days officially endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to unite patient organizations, medical professionals, governments, industry leaders, and the general public in education efforts. The goal is to raise the global profile of viral Hepatitis. Every year on July 28th agencies ramp up vaccination efforts for Hepatitis B and encourage everyone to have a test for Hepatitis C, particularly if they have never had one. Hepatitis C is curable, but must be diagnosed first to find the treatment that is right for an individual.

Individuals born between the early to mid 1940’s through the early to mid 1960’s (the Baby Boomers) are highly encouraged to be tested at least once because of lax screening of blood products used during surgeries and other treatments.

Use this year’s World Hepatitis Day to think about your Hepatitis B vaccination status, and find out if you have ever had a test for Hepatitis C.  Be proactive for your health, promote the need for testing and vaccination and help "Find the Missing Millions”

Please contact us at Clark County Health Department for questions regarding Hepatitis vaccinations or testing. 859-744-4482.


Article submitted by:  Jennifer Burchett, RN, BSN, CLS


Information taken from:  www.cdc.gov/hepatitis and www.worldhepatitisalliance.org