An estimated 1.45 million people died of the disease in 2013 – up from less than a million in 1990
Only one in 20 people with viral hepatitis are aware that they are suffering from the disease. One in 100 suffering people are being treated. On World Hepatitis Day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged countries across the globe to take action in spreading awareness about the disease and increase the access to testing and treatment services.
"The world has ignored hepatitis at its peril,” said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO director-general. “It is time to mobilise a global response to hepatitis on the scale similar to that generated to fight other communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.”
Around the world 400 million people are infected with hepatitis B and C. This is 10 times the number of people living with HIV. An estimated 1.45 million people died of the disease in 2013 – up from less than a million in 1990.
In May 2016 at the World Health Assembly, 194 governments adopted the first-ever Global Health Sector Strategy on viral hepatitis and agreed to the first-ever global targets. The strategy includes a target to treat 8 million people for hepatitis B or C by 2020.
Hepatitis is fully preventable and treatable: there are effective vaccines and treatments for hepatitis B, and over 90% of people with hepatitis C can be cured with treatment.
- Viral hepatitis affects 400 million people globally.
- Every year 6–10 million people are newly infected.
- An estimated 95% of people with hepatitis do not know there are infected.
- Over 90% of people with hepatitis C can be completely cured within 3–6 months.
- Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease.
- The virus is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person.
- An estimated 240 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B (defined as hepatitis B surface antigen positive for at least 6 months).
- More than 686 000 people die every year due to complications of hepatitis B, including cirrhosis and liver cancer 1.