World Hepatitis Day takes places every year on 28th July, bringing the world together under a single theme to raise awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis and to influence real change. The date of 28th July was chosen because it is the birthday of Nobel-prize winning scientist Dr Baruch Blumberg, who discovered the hepatitis B virus (HBV) in 1967 and two years later developed the first hepatitis B vaccine.
This year’s theme on World Hepatitis Day is Hepatitis Can't Wait – ‘With a person dying every 30 seconds from a hepatitis related illness – even in the current COVID-19 crisis – we can’t wait to act on viral hepatitis.’
Viral hepatitis is a major global health threat and it’s estimated that about 360 million people are infected. Organisations around the world, including WHO and CDC, commemorate World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness of the problem of viral hepatitis, and what needs to be done to strengthen efforts in prevention, screening and control of viral hepatitis.