The World Health Organisation has designated 28 July as World Hepatitis Day
The Day is to increase the awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis and the diseases that it causes. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most commonly caused by a viral infection. There are five main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E (the D virus occurs only in association with B virus infection). These five types are of great concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread.
Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water.
While commonly thought of as occurring only in underdeveloped countries these food-borne diseases are becoming more frequent in so-called first world countries because of rapid travel between countries and because of widespread rapid food importation. While there is a very efficient vaccine against Hepatitis A prevention of Hepatitis E infection depends on careful attention to food and water hygiene. Hepatitis Band C occur as a result of contact with infected body fluids. Common modes of transmission for these viruses include receipt of contaminated blood or blood products via shared use of syringes and needles or invasive medical procedures using contaminated equipment. Hepatitis B is also spread by sexual contact and transmission from mother to baby at birth. With universal vaccination in infancy and adolescence it is hoped that Hepatitis B infection can eventually be eliminated.