World Hepatitis Day 28th July 2014
It is our pleasure to inform you the activities of health systems in different countries have changed the epidemiology of viral hepatitis especially hepatitis B virus infection during recent years. Hepatitis B vaccination is the most effective method to prevent Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and its consequences, including cirrhosis, liver cancer, liver failure, and death. In neonates, HBV infection is transmitted from infected mothers in prenatal period; however, in adults, HBV transmission occurs primarily among unvaccinated persons with risk factors for HBV infection, predominantly. The epidemiology of infection is also changing from vertical to horizontal route. It is not enough for the health policy makers to forget the HBV yet!!, we have around 350 million infected cases in the world. Unfortunately most of them are unrecognized and it is our role to increase the people awareness and asking for screening in high risk groups for finding more infected patients and treat them soon.
The issue for hepatitis C infection is different from Hepatitis B virus infection. After screening of blood and blood products it was expected to have a significant decrease in burden of HCV infection in communities, it happened in special cases such as thalassemia and hemophilia patients, but due to emerging the intravenous drug abusing, unfortunately we have an emerging the HCV infection in many countries in the world. Harm reduction programs and education of general population especially the young ones for decrease the risk factors of transmission of infection can help us for better control of HCV infection in future.
Every year on 28 July, WHO and partners mark World Hepatitis Day to increase the awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis and the diseases that it causes. In April this year, WHO issued new recommendations on treatment of Hepatitis C. In May, World Health Assembly delegates from 194 governments adopted a resolution to improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of viral hepatitis. On World Hepatitis Day, 28 July 2014, WHO and partners will urge policymakers, health workers and the public to ‘Think again’ about this silent killer. World Hepatitis Day provides an opportunity to focus on specific actions, such as: Strengthening prevention, screening and control of viral hepatitis and its related diseases; increasing hepatitis B vaccine coverage and integration of the vaccine into national immunization programmes; coordinating a global response to viral hepatitis.
The date of 28 July was chosen for World Hepatitis Day in honor of the birthday of Nobel Laureate Professor Baruch Samuel Blumberg, discoverer of the hepatitis B virus.
Seyed Moayed Alavian, M.D.
Professor in Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Editor-in-chief of Hepatitis Monthly (hepatmon.com)
Founder of Global Hepatitis Community (hepcomm.com)