World Hepatitis Day : 28th July
•The word hepatitis refers to any inflammation of the liver — the irritation or swelling of the liver cells from any cause.
•It can be acute (inflammation of the liver that presents with sickness — jaundice, fever, vomiting) or chronic (inflammation of the liver that lasts more than six months, but essentially showing no symptoms).
•Hepatitis A is usually a short-term infection and does not become a long-term infection.
•Hepatitis B and hepatitis C can also begin as short-term infections but in some people, the virus remains in the body, and causes chronic, or lifelong, infection.
•There are vaccines to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B; however, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
•Theme for the year 2020 is “Hepatitis-free future”, with a strong focus on preventing hepatitis B among mothers and newborns.
•Hepatitis B is included under India’s Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) which provides free of cost vaccination against eleven (excluding Hepatitis B) vaccine-preventable diseases i.e. Tuberculosis, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio, Pneumonia and Meningitis due to Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib), Measles, Rubella, Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Rotavirus diarrhoea.
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Thailand became the first four countries in the World Health Organization’s Southeast Asia region to have successfully controlled Hepatitis B.
•Recently, an automated coronavirus testing device named ‘COBAS 6800’ was launched which can also detect viral Hepatitis B & C, among others.
•It can be noted that only for four diseases viz. HIV-AIDS (1st December), TB (24th March), Malaria (25th April), and Hepatitis, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially endorses disease-specific global awareness days.
•40 million people are chronically infected with Hepatitis B virus and 6 to 12 million with Hepatitis C virus.
•In 2018, the government launched the National Viral Hepatitis Program. The program is the largest program for Hepatitis B and C diagnosis and treatment in the world