Currently 400 million people are living with hepatitis B and C worldwide. Of these, 4,000 die from illnesses related to hepatitis B or C every day, according to the World Hepatitis Day website.
Hepatitis is defined by the World Health Organization as “an inflammation of the liver.” There are five distinctive types of hepatitis, including A, B, C, D and E.
Hepatitis A is found within the fecal matter of someone with the disease, and is passed along when an individual comes into contact with the infected stool, typically when it is ingested orally.
"Hepatitis B, C and D usually occur as a result of parenteral contact with infected body fluids," the WHO website states. These viruses may be spread from contaminated blood or blood products or invasive medical procedures using contaminated equipment.
Hepatitis B and C are the most common types of the disease, and they often result in the accumulation of other chronic health problems. Jaundice, skin rash and cirrhosis are common symptoms that arise as a result of hepatitis B or C.
Hepatitis B occurs when an individual comes into contact with blood, semen or vaginal fluids of someone who already has contracted the hepatitis B disease.
Hepatitis C is often spread by the usage and sharing of needles, as it can be spread via the bloodstream.
Hepatitis D is not typically passed from person to person, but rather is a further infection that occurs in individuals with Hepatitis B.
Hepatitis E is most often transmitted through food and drink that has been contaminated with the virus.
The inflammation of the liver caused by hepatitis can be avoided by not sharing needles, and carefully examining anything ingested in order to assure it is cleanly and safe. There are also vaccinations for both hepatitis A and B in order to keep the disease at bay.
You can support the individuals suffering and dying from hepatitis by advocating the safe use of needles, and education on the life-threatening side effects.
World Hepatitis Day, World Health Organization, Retrieved July 28, 2015
Hepatitis Health Cener, Web MD, Retrieved July 28, 2015
What is Hepatitis? World Health Organization, Retrieved July 28, 2015
General Information: FAQ, Hepatitis B Foundation, Retrieved July 28, 2015
Reviewed July 30, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith