World Hepatitis Day is observed annually on July 28, the birthday of Dr. Baruch Blumberg (1925-2011). Dr. Blumberg discovered the hepatitis B virus in 1967 and two years later developed the first hepatitis B vaccine and for these achievements won the Nobel Prize. Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver tissue and is most commonly caused by viruses including Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E.
How are they caused:
- Hepatitis A and E are spread through contaminated water
- Hepatitis B is typically sexually transmitted or through exposure to infected blood
- Hepatitis C is spread through infected blood (persons infected with HIV are more likely to be infected with Hepatitis C)
- Hepatitis D can only infect people who already have Hepatitis B
Hepatitis A, B, and D are preventable with vaccination. Antivirals are typically recommended for people who have Hepatitis C. There are a wide range of symptoms associated with Hepatitis including flu-like symptoms, to most severely, liver failure.
What should you do to protect yourself?
- Maintain healthy habits including handwashing and a regular diet
- Obtain vaccinations for Hepatitis A, B, and D
- Screen for Hepatitis C
- Avoid sharing needles and syringes
- Practice safe sex
- Observe changing symptoms and health status
- Talk to your primary care physician
For more information please visit: Division of Viral Hepatitis | CDC