World Hepatitis Day was celebrated three days ago, on 28 July. This event aims to offer the opportunity to raise awareness of the global burden of this disease, raise public awareness and institutions, to reflect and disseminate information on a global health problem.
The anniversary was established on the day of the birth of Baruch Blumberg, a US biochemist who died in 2011 and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1975 for discovering the hepatitis B virus and developing the first vaccine.
People can also see if they should be tested or vaccinated for hepatitis A, B, or C using the CDC’s online hepatitis risk assessment, which is based on the CDC’s recommendations for the United States using the link:
Viral hepatitis – a group of infectious diseases known as hepatitis A, B, C, D and E – affects millions of people around the world, causing both acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) liver disease .
Figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that approximately 325 million people worldwide are living with chronic hepatitis B or chronic hepatitis C. Viral hepatitis causes more than one million deaths in the world. year, a number comparable to deaths from tuberculosis and HIV combined. While deaths from tuberculosis and HIV are on the decline, deaths from hepatitis are on the rise, according to the CDC.
In Italy, the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) is the public body at the service of institutions for scientific research and for interventions for the promotion and protection of citizens’ health. The ISS in fact carries out various activities, both national and international, of research, surveillance, regulation, control, prevention, communication, consultancy and training.
In particular for hepatitis, through the SEIEVA surveillance system (Integrated epidemiological system of acute viral hepatitis), the ISS continuously monitors the trend over time and describes the changes in the distribution of these diseases, highlighting the main factors that favor the onset.
The ISS is also engaged in the research and identification of circulating viral strains. According to ISS data, in Italy, from the late 1980s to today, all hepatitis – and in particular hepatitis B and C – have undergone a general reduction in frequency.
World Day against Hepatitis C is celebrated on 28 July, a liver disease caused by the HCV virus (Hepatitis C Virus) which is transmitted through contact with infected blood. A treacherous pathology, as it is silent: it often does not give symptoms and can remain dormant for many years, even decades.
Unfortunately, in most cases you don’t realize you have contracted it until the disease, which silently continues to progress, leads to serious consequences such as liver cirrhosis or liver cancer: within 10-20 years the 20- 30% of people with hepatitis C develop cirrhosis of the liver and 1-4% develop a tumor, hepatocellular carcinoma.
It is believed that in Italy there are still 250-300 thousand people who do not know they have hepatitis C. It is more common among people over the age of 35, and to an even greater extent in those over 50: in the over age group.
75, for example, the percentage of cases of hepatitis C reaches 6-7%, while in the under 30s it is around 0.2%. People over the age of 50 may be more at risk, especially since before the 1990s the hepatitis C virus had not yet been discovered and consequently neither the methods of contagion nor the forms of prevention were known.