What You Don’t Know About Hepatitis Can Kill You

What You Don't Know About Hepatitis Can Kill You

The disease that is responsible for nearly 1 million deaths each year and is among the top 10 infectious disease killers is coming up on its 6th annual day of awareness.

Hepatitis affects millions of people, causing acute and chronic disease worldwide. Although viral hepatitis is growing, it remains largely ignored and unknown.

On July 28, the World Hepatitis Alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO) will be promoting awareness of this silent epidemic by celebrating World Hepatitis Day.

What is Hepatitis?

According to the World Health Organization, hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most commonly caused by a viral infection. There are five main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. These latter types are of greatest concern because of the burdens the illness places those affected, their families, the community and the higher incident of death. Also at issue is the ease with which the disease can spread and the potential for epidemic outbreaks.

Common modes of transmission include receipt of contaminated blood or blood products, invasive medical procedures using contaminated equipment and, for hepatitis B, transmission from mother to baby at birth, from family member to child, and also by sexual contact.

Acute infection may occur with limited or no symptoms, or may include symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Types and Treatments

Five main types of Hepatitis: Types of Hepatitis

  • Type A: This type is caused by eating or drinking infected food or water. In most cases, a full recovery takes place. Abstaining from alcohol and drug use is recommended during recovery.
  • Type B: A Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), type B is spread through the sharing of infected semen, blood and other bodily fluids. It can also be spread to an infant from a mother’s milk, the sharing of needles and from unprotected sexual intercourse. Rest and a high-protein diet will speed up the repairing of the damaged liver. Not all will make a full recovery.
  • Type C: This is almost always spread through contact with an infected person’s blood and may be contracted through the sharing of needles. Medication may be prescribed by a doctor. Recovery is not guaranteed.
  • Type D: They type can only be caused by the progression of Type B.
  • Type E: Similar to Type A, it is caused by the drinking of infected water. Can also be spread through sex.


Symptoms usually appear within 15-180 days after being infected. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) these are some of the most common.

  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • Dark Urine
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever

Preventative Practices:

  • DO get immunized against Type B. Vaccinations are recommended for all infants at birth, children under the age of 18 and at-risk adults as stated by the Hepatitis B Foundation.
  • DO research on tattoo and piercing places before getting anything done.
  • DO practice good hygiene such as hand washing.
  • DO take caution when traveling, especially to places with known outbreaks or poor sanitation. Find out more about vaccinations here.
  • DO practice safe sex.
  • DON’T share needles, razors or toothbrushes with an infected person.


July 28 is observed as World Hepatitis Day. This day is acknowledged to educate those around the world about prevention, treatment options and how to cope with the disease.

Help spread the word and educate friends and family about how to prevent the spread of the disease that affects nearly 500 million people around the world.

Learn more about Hepatitis from these sources:

American Liver Foundation

World Hepatitis Alliance 

Medical News

World Health Organization

Hepatitis B Foundation

Web MD

Campaigns to get involved with:

This is Hepatitis. Know it. Confront it.

See No Evil. Hear No Evil. Speak No Evil.

It’s Closer Than You Think

Make a donation to The Hepatitis B Foundation here.

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