WHO Marks First-Ever World Hepatitis Day

The WHO on Thursday marked the first-ever World Hepatitis Day, recognizing a disease that affects nearly one of every three people in the world, the U.N. News Centre reports (7/27). According to a WHO press release, 1.4 million cases of hepatitis A occur each year, two billion people are infected with a hepatitis virus, and at least 130 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis C (7/28).

The WHO is intensifying its campaign against hepatitis B, particularly in the Asia Pacific region, where nine out of 10 countries will not reach a 2012 goal to reduce hepatitis B infections among children, Reuters reports (Lyn, 7/28).

The Lancet on Wednesday published the first worldwide estimates of hepatitis prevalence among people who use injecting drugs, showing that “10 million have hepatitis C while 1.3 million have hepatitis B,” BBC News reports. Compiled by researchers from Australia and the U.S., the figures “show about 67 percent of injecting drug users in the world have been exposed to hepatitis C, while around 10 percent have come into contact with hepatitis B,” according to the news service (7/28).