World Hepatitis Day, observed on July 28 every year, aims to raise global awareness of hepatitis. A group of infectious diseases known as Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E — and encourage prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Hepatitis affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, causing acute and chronic disease and killing close to 1.4 million people every year.
World Hepatitis Day is one of eight official global and public health campaigns. Some of the others are World Blood Donor Day, World With No Tobacco Day World AIDS Day and World Malaria Day.
Preventing Perinatal Hepatitis B Transmission
Hepatitis B is a significant global health threat and is common in many parts of the world, with approximately 240 million worldwide infected, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Chronic hepatitis B infection causes an estimated 780,000 deaths worldwide each year. Many people with chronic hepatitis B were infected at birth or during early childhood, which increases the chance of a chronic, or lifelong, illness. Over time, chronic hepatitis B can cause serious health problems including liver cancer and liver failure.
Preventing Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is spread when blood or other body fluids from an infected person enters the body of another person. A pregnant woman who has hepatitis B can pass the virus to her infant at birth without timely intervention. In fact, 90% of infected infants develop a lifelong infection, and an estimated one-fourth of them will die prematurely. To address this public health concern, all pregnant women in the United States and many other countries are now routinely screened for hepatitis B. If a pregnant woman has hepatitis B, health care providers take extra effort to make sure her newborn gets timely vaccination to prevent this deadly disease. Completing the vaccine series can prevent transmission of the virus in over 90% of infants born to infected women. To protect every infant from potential infection, CDC recommends all babies get the first shot in the hepatitis B vaccine series before leaving the hospital, and completing the vaccine series as recommended.