Be aware of hepatitis signs

To coincide with World Hepatitis Day on July 28, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust's Viral Hepatitis Team will be raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of hepatitis among the public and health professionals.

Thursday, 26th July 2018, 3:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th July 2018, 3:42 pm
A person being tested for hepatitis C. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Zak Hussein/PA Wire

The World Health Organization has officially designated July 28 as World Hepatitis Day and the theme of this year’s campaign is “ Find the Missing Millions” – a three year-global awareness campaign aimed at tackling the main barriers to diagnosis.

Out of the 325 million people living with viral hepatitis globally, over 290 million (9 in 10) are living with hepatitis B or C without knowing.

Helen Newsham, Healthcare Support Worker in the Communicable Disease Services at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Hepatitis B and C are infections may not show symptoms for a long period, sometimes years or decades.

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“Low coverage of testing and treatment is the most important gap to be addressed in order to achieve the World Health Organisation elimination target of a 30% diagnosis rate by 2020. “

World Hepatitis Day is a great opportunity to educate people about viral hepatitis and how to prevent transmission, keep yourself protected and above all help stop the stigma attached to hepatitis, as anyone can be vulnerable to it, it does not discriminate.

“The elimination of viral hepatitis is an individual goal for millions of men, women and children across the world. We could all, at some point, be affected by hepatitis, and we all have a part to play in achieving elimination. Hepatitis can affect anyone and is the cause of thousands of deaths a day worldwide. Knowing the facts saves lives, and getting tested is quick and simple so we are encouraging anyone who is concerned to get in contact on 01772 777148.”

The Viral Hepatitis Team will be displaying awareness posters within GP surgeries, hospitals, pharmacies, colleges and universities and supermarkets. They will also be working with outside organisations such as The Young Princes Trust and Red Rose across Chorley South Ribble, Greater Preston and West Lancashire to help increase the awareness of viral hepatitis to their volunteers and service users. There will be an information board up in the Minerva Health Centre in Preston for two weeks commencing Monday 23 July with further details relating to viral hepatitis and the service.

World Hepatitis Day is led by the World Health Organization alongside World Hepatitis Alliance and takes place every year on 28 July to raise global awareness of hepatitis.