Viral Hepatitis is a Major Global Health Threat

World Hepatitis Day is observed annually on July 28, the birthday of Dr. Baruch Blumberg, the Nobel Laureate scientist who discovered the hepatitis B virus in 1967 and developed a vaccine and means of diagnosis.

First adopted in 2010 by the World Health Assembly, World Hepatitis Day is a World Health Organization (WHO) international day highlighting the need for a greater global response to the threat of viral hepatitis.

What is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver.

Viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis, and there are five distinct hepatitis viruses (A, B, C, D, and E). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water. Hepatitis B, C and D usually occur as a result of contact with infected blood or body fluids.

Other causes of hepatitis include heavy alcohol use, some drugs and medications, obesity, autoimmune diseases and other infections.

1.3 million
die annually from the different hepatitis viruses

1 in 12
live with either chronic hepatitis B or C

20 million
occur worldwide each year

Sources: World Hepatitis Alliance, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, World Health Organization

The Five Types of Viral Hepatitis

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is closely associated with unsafe water and food, inadequate sanitation and poor personal hygiene. It is primarily transmitted through ingestion of food or water that has been contaminated with the feces of an infected person, but the virus can also be spread by close personal contact with an infected person.

90 percent of children living in countries with low sanitation standards will have had a hepatitis A infection by age 10. — World Health Organization
Hepatitis A is effectively prevented with improved sanitation facilities, food safety practices, and immunization.

Hepatitis A is rarely fatal, but it can cause debilitating symptoms and acute liver failure, which is often fatal. Recovery from an HAV infection typically takes several weeks or months and can prevent people from participating in school and work. School attendance and learning and the ability to earn an income and provide for a family are significantly hindered.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It is most common in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and is primarily transmitted through contact with infected blood or other body fluids. The hepatitis B virus can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby.

Getting the hepatitis B vaccine is the most effective way to prevent hepatitis B. According to WHO, the vaccine is 95 percent effective in preventing infection and the development of chronic disease and liver cancer due to hepatitis B.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The virus is mostly transmitted through contact with infected blood. It is one of the most common blood-borne viral infections and can be passed from an infected mother to her baby. Although no vaccine for HCV currently exists, over 90 percent of people with hepatitis C can be cured within 2 to 3 months.

Hepatitis D

As with the hepatitis B and C viruses, hepatitis D (HDV) is transmitted through contact with infected blood, but HDV only occurs in people who are already infected with the HBV. A hepatitis B vaccination can prevent hepatitis D in people not already infected with HBV.

Hepatitis E

The hepatitis E virus (HEV) is primarily transmitted through water contaminated with feces, but is also commonly transmitted through contaminated food. Hepatitis E is found worldwide, but the greatest number of infections are in East and South Asia. An HEV vaccine has been developed, but it is not widely available.

Like with hepatitis A, hepatitis E is effectively prevented with improved sanitation facilities and food safety practices.

How We Fight Hepatitis

We partner with thousands of local churches in 25 countries to bring improved sanitation facilities, hygiene education and vaccinations to the children in our care; all of which help the children stay healthy, remain active in school, and focus their energy on overcoming poverty.

Your donation is fully tax-deductible, and will provide Compassion children education on proper hygiene practices, easy access to improved sanitation facilities, vaccinations to protect against viral hepatitis and other diseases, and training on preventative measures to help avoid preventable illnesses.

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Essential Healthy Infrastructure

Toilets, washrooms, septic systems, and filtration

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Hygiene Education

Community training on hygiene, water and sanitation equipment and maintenance, and community waste collection initiatives

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Vaccinations against common diseases

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With Compassion, your donation is used wisely to help children around the world.

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Please call us at 800-336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MT, to speak with a Compassion representative.