Globally, over 2 billion people are affected by one of nine Hepatitis viruses, making this a major pubilc health issue. An estimated 57% of liver cirrhosis cases and 78% of primary liver cancer cases result from hepatitis B or C viruses’ infections. This is why the Jewish General Hospital (JGH) is supporting World Hepatitis Day (July 28) by making valuable information available to the public about the importance of protecting oneself against, and controlling the spread of, viral hepatitis.
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 five types are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread. In particular, types B and C lead to chronic disease in hundreds of millions of people and, together, are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.
In recognition of the importance of the public health problem posed by hepatitis, in 2010, the 63rd World Health Assembly designated July 28th as World Hepatitis Day and requested an integrated response in the fight against hepatitis. From then on, the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization have joined efforts to establish strategies to fight hepatitis either at global and regional levels.
Following the resolution, WHO established the Global Hepatitis Programme with the goals of reducing the transmission of agents that cause viral hepatitis, reducing the morbidity and mortality due to viral hepatitis through improving the care of patients with viral hepatitis and reducing the socio-economic impact of viral hepatitis at individual, community and population levels.
“The first step toward achieving these goals is raising public awareness of this life-threatening disease. We must work to reduce the stigma surrounding hepatitis, and to ensure that testing, information, counseling, and treatment are available to all who need it,” says Dr. Mark Miller, Chair of Infection Prevention and Control, Chief of Microbiology, and the Head of the Division of Infectious Diseases.
Glenn J. Nashen, Director
Astrid Morin, Media Relations
Public Affairs and Communications
Jewish General Hospital
Tel.: 514-340-8222 ext. 4612