28th july: World Hepatitis day

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World Hepatitis day 2020: Awareness key to prevent liver disease; B and C variants most common causes of death

World Hepatitis Day is observed every year on 28 July to increase awareness of viral hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver that causes a number of health ailments including liver cancer.

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are five main strains of the hepatitis virus — A, B, C, D and E. Together, hepatitis B and C are the most common cause of death.

The health organisation says that 325 million people are living with viral hepatitis B and C. Every year 9 lakh deaths are caused by hepatitis B virus infection.

The theme for World Hepatitis Day 2020 is ‘Hepatitis-free future’. The main focus is on preventing hepatitis B among mothers and newborns. The date 28 July was chosen to observe the day as it is the birthday of Nobel-prize winning scientist Dr Baruch Blumberg who discovered hepatitis B virus (HBV). Blumberg also developed a diagnostic test and vaccine for the virus.

According to a report by Hindustan Times, symptoms of hepatitis are hard to detect people may not show as any signs or can also be confused with the common flu. If a person sees signs of fatigue, muscle pain, fever, loss of appetite, light-coloured stools, nausea and vomiting, then he/she should see a doctor at the earliest.

Treatment at the right time can prevent the person from liver cirrhosis or scarring which may lead to liver cancer.

There is no vaccination for hepatitis apart from hepatitis A and B. Other strains of this disease can be prevented by taking precautions including avoiding consumption of raw food, unfiltered water.

A person should also not share his/her toothbrushes, razors or any hygiene-related products with others. Also, it is advised to use condoms and dental dams for safe sex.

The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare tweeted a video describing the probable causes of hepatitis and how a person can prevent himself/herself from it.

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