World Hepatitis Day is observed annually on July 28th to increase the awareness of viral hepatitis.
Viral hepatitis is an infection that causes liver inflammation and damage.
There are five main strains of the hepatitis virus — A, B, C, D, and E. Together, Hepatitis B and C are the most common, causing 1.1 million deaths and 3 million new infections each year.
Common symptoms of hepatitis are:
- Flu-like symptoms
- dark urine
- pale stools
- abdominal pain
- loss of appetite
- unexplained weight loss
- yellow skin and eyes, which could be a sign of jaundice.
The ways to prevent or reduce the risk of having hepatitis vary depending on the type of the virus. There are vaccines available to prevent hepatitis A and B. Autoimmune hepatitis cannot be prevented.
The risk groups for viral hepatitis B and C include healthcare professionals, people with multiple sexual partners, and intravenous drug users. Blood transfusion is a rare cause of viral hepatitis.