Viral hepatitis, including hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, are a group of distinct diseases that affect the liver. Each have different hepatitis symptoms and treatments. Some causes of hepatitis include recreational drugs and prescription medications. Hepatitis B is a virus that infects the liver . Most adults who get it have it for a short time and then get better. This is called acute hepatitis B.
Sometimes the virus causes a long-term infection, called chronic hepatitis B. Over time, it can damage your liver. Babies and young children infected with the virus are more likely to get chronic hepatitis B. You can have hepatitis B and not know it. You may not have symptoms. If you do, they can make you feel like you have the flu. But as long as you have the virus, you can spread it to others.
There are two phases of hepatitis B infection: acute and chronic. Acute refers to a new infection that is less than six months old; an HBV infection that lasts more than six months is chronic. Acute hepatitis B will resolve on its own without serious complications in the majority of newly infected teens and adults. When this occurs, people are no longer contagious and are immune to further HBV infections. However, in people whose infection does not resolve, HBV may be transmitted to others. Chronic hep B can cause fibrosis (mild to moderate liver scarring), cirrhosis (serious liver scarring), liver cancer, liver failure and death.
Hepatitis B disproportionately affects people in Africa
An estimated 325 million people worldwide are living with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The WHO Global hepatitis report, 2017 indicates that the large majority of these people lack access to life-saving testing and treatment. As a result, millions of people are at risk of a slow progression to chronic liver disease, cancer, and death.”
Viral hepatitis caused 1.34 million deaths in 2015, a number comparable to deaths caused by tuberculosis and HIV. But while mortality from tuberculosis and HIV has been declining, deaths from hepatitis are on the increase. Approximately 1.75 million people were newly infected with HCV in 2015, bringing the global total of people living with hepatitis C to 71 million people
Hepatitis B levels vary widely across WHO regions with the WHO African Region sharing one of the greatest burden 6.1% (60 million people) and the Society Of Gastroenterology and Hepatology In Nigeria (SOGHIN) estimated that 20 million Nigerians are chronically infected with HBV.
Unsafe injections in health care settings and injecting drug use are considered to be the most common routes of HCV transmissions. HCV prevalence by WHO region Africa is 1% (11 million).
WAHA Initiative is committed to joining the WHO and World Hepatitis Alliance and other organizations in eliminating viral hepatitis by 2030.