World Hepatitis Day 2015


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       Also this year on July 28th UMdL agrees with the World Hepatitis Day promoted by World Hepatitis Alliance and supported by World Health Organization (WHO) and by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Around the World there are a lot of events planned for this happening.

This year main mottoes are “PREVENT HEPATITIS: IT’S UP TO YOU” and “PREVENT HEPATITIS: ACT NOW”. The official website provides different information for people interested in learning the facts in order to prevent hepatitis: hepatitis, know the facts, vaccination, blood and injection safety, harm reduction.

On July 28th 1925 in New York was born Dr. Baruch Samuel Blumberg. He discovered the hepatitis B virus in 1967 and he and his colleagues developed the first hepatitis B vaccine in 1969 and for these achievements won the Nobel Prize in 1976. Starting from his seminal article[1] researchers have made a lot of progress towards prevention and treatment of all viral hepatitis.

There are five different hepatitis virus (A, B, C, D and E) and there are different ways of transmission (B,C and D are mainly spread by blood-to-blood contact and sometimes by other body fluids; A and E are mainly transmitted by poor sanitation and contaminated water or food).

All hepatitis viruses can cause inflammation of the liver, and chronic hepatitis B and C can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Around 240 million people live with chronic hepatitis B and around 130–150 million people globally have chronic hepatitis C infection.[2, 3]

Every day about 4,000 people die from viral Hepatitis B and C worldwide (1.45 million people every year). Anyone can receive the hepatitis B vaccine above all if people have not previously received a sufficient vaccination. People at risk of hepatitis B infection include who inject drugs, healthcare professionals, prison staff and sex workers, among others. Currently are available new Hepatitis B guidelines by WHO. [4]

Every year at least 16 billion injections are administered worldwide (about 90% of these ones are given in curative care). Information provided by WHO show that every year around 8 billion injections for treatments can be replaced delivering medication by mouth. Unsafe injections are responsible for as many as 33,800 HIV infections, 1.7 million hepatitis B infections and 315,000 hepatitis C infections annually. Both patients and healthcare professionals are at risk through “needle stick” injuries. According to WHO and other international associations (Safe Injection Global Network (SIGN), UNICEF and GAVI Alliance) cornerstone for this battle is education about the importance of sterile equipment, safe procedures, elimination of unnecessary injections and better design of equipment. Currently there are a lot of new smart syringes in commerce [5]. These devices have been engineered with an auto-disable features or re-use prevention features. More information are also available on the new WHO guidelines on this topic. [6]

Lucio Fellone ( / last updated 07/25/2015
Link to the World Herpatitis Day 2014 page



  1. Blumberg BS, Alter HJ, Visnich S. A ‘‘new’’ antigen in leukemia sera. JAMA 1965;191:541-546 [Pubmed].
  2. World Health Organization – Media Centre – Hepatitis B Fact Sheet N°204:  [Last accessed July 2015].
  3. World Health Organization – Media Centre – Hepatitis C Fact Sheet N°164: [Last accessed July 2015].
  4. World Health Organization – Guidelines for the prevention, care and treatment of persons with chronic hepatitis B infection. Published on March 2015. Pp.166.ISBN:978 92 4 154905 9. .
  5. World Health Organization – Injection safety – Injection safety policy and global campaign: [Last accessed July 2015].
  6. World Health Organization – WHO guideline on the use of safety-engineered syringes for intramuscular, intradermal and subcutaneous injections in health-care settings. WHO/HIS/SDS/2015.5. .



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