World Hepatitis Day
Sadie Frost poses for photographs before getting tested for Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C to promote getting tested ahead of World Hepatitis Day. Getty Images/ Tim Whitby

World Hepatitis Day, which falls on July 28, is an initiative that was started by the World Health Organization and has since been commemorated every year as part of their effort to raise awareness regarding the disease. This year, World Hepatitis Day is themed “Eliminate Hepatitis” urging people to start acting toward the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, eradicating hepatitis for good.

The CEO of the World Hepatitis Alliance, Raquel Peck, who has previously battled hepatitis C and is now cured, told International Business Times via email: “Elimination is no longer a dream. However, governments and policy makers must use this opportunity today on World Hepatitis Day to collaborate, identify and overcome the significant barriers that do still remain. For instance, dramatically increasing the number of people who can get tested for viral hepatitis and subsequently ensuring access to effective treatment is a huge priority in all regions of the world.”

In light of that initiative, here is a look at some of the facts about the five variants of hepatitis (A,B,C,D,E) that you probably did not know:

1) About 325 million people worldwide are living with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV), the Strait Times reported. The same disease resulted in the death of 887,000 people globally in 2015.

Hepatitis B gravely affects the Asia Pacific, killing a person every 30 seconds, according to the Coalition to Eradicate Viral Hepatitis in Asia Pacific (CEVHAP).

An Indian boy stands near a replica of the Hepatitis virus, a part of an awareness event in Mumbai on July 28, 2014. Getty Images/ Punit Paranjpe

Read: What Is Hepatitis A? 135 People Suffering From Virus In Hawaii, Outbreak On The Rise

2) Different kinds of the hepatitis virus get transmitted in different ways. One runs the risk of get affected by hepatitis A by consuming food or water contaminated by feces from a person infected by the same disease. Hepatitis B, on the other hand, may be transmitted by infectious body fluids, such as blood, vaginal secretions, or semen.

Apart from the ways in which the variant B is transmitted, one can also get infected by hepatitis C by injection drug use. Hepatitis D spreads by direct contact with contaminated blood and waterborne hepatitis E virus spreads through contaminated drinking water, Healthline reported.

3) According to Stellenbosch University virologists, they have reasons to believe that hepatitis E will prove to be as deadly as hepatitis A or B in the near future. Although the particular variant of the disease was contained to underdeveloped countries, the scenario is changing and not countries like the United States as well as France are showing signs of people getting affected by the disease. While the virus was previously transmitted only through fecal-oral route, the disease is presently spreading through the consumption of pork or ham that has not been processed properly or has been contaminated by fecal matter, IOL reported.

4) Some of the symptoms of acute hepatitis are fatigue, discolored urine, abdominal pain, pale stool, loss of appetite, abrupt weight loss, jaundice-like signs like yellow colored eyes and skin. If one is experiencing some or all of these symptoms, one should immediately get blood tests, liver function tests, ultrasound and other medical procedures done to make sure that one has not got infected by hepatitis.

Read: What Is Hepatitis B and C? Nearly 300 In Canada 'At Risk' Of Infection From Edmonton Clinic

5) Apart from hepatitis D and E, all the other variants can either be prevented by vaccination or treated by an array of antiviral drugs and ample rest for relative periods of time. However, hepatitis D can be prevented by administering vaccination for the hepatitis B virus. Also, there are some hopes for finding a cure for hepatitis D as about 25 to 30 percent of patients affected by the disease showed signs of improvement after taking a drug called alpha interferon.

6) During the time one is recovering from hepatitis, doctors often advice patients to steer clear of any type of foods or drinks that can cause undue irritation to one’s liver, NDTV reported. Any food that is loaded with gluten, fat, sugar, chemicals, preservatives and empty calories should ideally be avoided. The same goes for alcohol or foods that contain alcohol. Dairy products also put considerable burden on the liver and as they contain complex protein that need to be broken down. However, the most important “don’t” that goes on top of the list is to avoid drinking tap water or unfiltered water, especially if one is suffering from hepatitis A and E.