Today is Testing Tuesday! And this week we are raising awareness of Hepatitis. (Not heard of TestingTuesday? See here to find out more)
On the 28th July it was National Hepatitis Awareness Day. A great collaborative effort was made from research councils, organisations, and charities to raise awareness about the threat of hepatitis, and its impact on national and international community.
It is estimated that approximately 1.4 million persons die each year globally from the various forms of viral hepatitis. But what is hepatitis?
Well, Hepatitis is a term used to describe inflammation (swelling) of the liver. It can occur as the result of a viral infection or because the liver is exposed to harmful substances such as alcohol, and some drugs. Autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis.
There are 5 main hepatitis viruses; referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis A and E are typically caused by taking in contaminated food or water. Hepatitis B, C and D usually occur as a result of contact with infected body fluids.
Hepatitis infection may occur with no symptoms, and is sometimes known as the ‘silent disease’. Although it may have some flu-like symptoms such as dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain as well as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). These flu-like symptoms however are often treated as such, so many do go undiagnosed. Tests are needed for formal diagnosis and there are a number of tests available, and in use.
Lab Tests Online is a mine of useful information. The website is a public resource put together by lab professionals to outline the tests available for different diseases and conditions. Here you can find out, with simple explanations, each of the tests for the range of Hepatitis viruses.
BIVDA represents the manufacturers and distributors of Hepatitis and Liver Function tests. On our Point Of Care Directory, we pinpoint the test providers, (including Liver Function tests, Bilirubin, Alanine aminotransferase (ALT), Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and others).
On 28th July, Public Health England launched a report on Hepatitis C in the UK. National estimates suggest that around 214,000 individuals are chronically infected with hepatitis C (HCV) in the UK. PHE stated that to help tackle HCV infection, public health programmes need to make progress in the following four action areas:
- prevention of new infections
- increasing awareness of infection
- increasing testing and diagnosis
- getting diagnosed individuals into treatment and care
BIVDA are pleased to see that this need for increased testing, particularly for those at risk groups, has been highlighted as well and increased Information dissemination and increasing awareness for professionals and at risk groups. The report is available here.
To find out more from BIVDA please contact us here