Every year, July 28 is observed as “World Hepatitis Day (WHD)” all across the world. Sponsored by the World Hepatitis Alliance, the campaign aims to raise awareness about viral hepatitis and the global effort to eliminate it. The campaign creates an opportunity to educate people about the global burden these infections bring and highlights the serious efforts to combat viral hepatitis around the world and other actions people can take to prevent these infections. According to reports, about 290 million people worldwide are living with viral hepatitis unaware. Hepatitis is a condition that occurs due to inflammation and damage to the liver cells, which is usually the result of viral infection caused by the consumption of certain medications, heavy alcohol use, toxins and certain medical conditions. Generally, viral hepatitis comprises three different types namely- hepatitis A, B and C. Infection with any of these types can be deadly; each of these has different characteristics but similar symptoms. Together, Hepatitis B and C are the most common cause of deaths, with 1.4 million lives lost each year. Amidst the COVID 19 pandemic, viral hepatitis continues to claim thousands of lives every day. Treatment for this condition depends on the type and severity of infection. Hepatologists, gastroenterologists and other infectious disease specialists who diagnose and treat hepatitis patients can utilize the services of established medical billing and coding companies to get the correct medical codes reported on their medical claims.
WHD provides a unique platform to raise awareness and connect people with proper care. The global movement aims to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030. Most people with this condition either experience mild or no symptoms. Even if symptoms appear, they appear after 2 weeks to 6 months after infection, which applies to all kinds of hepatitis. Some of the most common symptoms include – yellow skin, swelling of the lower extremities, nausea and vomiting, muscle or joint aches, jaundice, or a yellowing of the eyes, itchy skin, fatigue, dark urine, abdominal pain and a loss of appetite and weight.
The 2020 worldwide campaign aims to remove the social stigma associated with this disease and to involve as many people as possible to focus on this issue together. It is a unique platform to educate people about hepatitis prevention, diagnosis, and control measures and to encourage people to get tested early on this disease. Diagnosis of this condition begins with a detailed physical examination to check for any signs of infection. Physicians will conduct liver function tests and other blood tests as well. Imaging tests like CAT scan, Ultrasound and liver biopsy may also be performed. Treatment options may depend on the specific type of liver inflammation and severity of infections (whether it is acute or chronic). For Hepatitis A infections, urologists do not recommend any specific treatment though bed rest may be recommended (if any symptoms cause serious discomfort). Antiviral medications will be given for the other two chronic forms of Hepatitis B and C. For chronic Hepatitis C patients, liver transplantation will be recommended as a final option for people who develop liver cirrhosis (scarring of the liver).
Hepatologists, gastroenterologists and other infectious disease specialists, while documenting the different types of hepatitis must also include the typical symptoms, diagnosis, screening tests and treatment modalities administered using the correct medical codes. Medical billing and coding services include assigning the right ICD-10 codes for specific type of conditions. ICD-10 codes for coding different types of Hepatitis include –
B15 Acute hepatitis A
- B15.0 Hepatitis A with hepatic coma
- B15.9 Hepatitis A without hepatic coma
B16 Acute hepatitis B
- B16.0 Acute hepatitis B with delta-agent with hepatic coma
- B16.1 Acute hepatitis B with delta-agent without hepatic coma
- B16.2 Acute hepatitis B without delta-agent with hepatic coma
- B16.9 Acute hepatitis B without delta-agent and without hepatic coma
B17 Other acute viral hepatitis
- B17.0 Acute delta-(super) infection of hepatitis B carrier
- B17.1 Acute hepatitis C
- B17.10 Acute hepatitis C, without hepatic coma
- B17.11 Acute hepatitis C, with hepatic coma
- B17.2 Acute hepatitis E
- B17.8 Other specified acute viral hepatitis
- B17.9 Acute viral hepatitis, unspecified
B18 Chronic viral hepatitis
- B18.0 Chronic viral hepatitis B with delta-agent
- B18.1 Chronic viral hepatitis B without delta-agent
- B18.2 Chronic viral hepatitis C
- B18.8 Other chronic viral hepatitis
- B18.9 Chronic viral hepatitis, unspecified
B19 Unspecified viral hepatitis
- B19.0 Unspecified viral hepatitis with hepatic coma
- B19.1 Unspecified viral hepatitis B
- B19.10 Unspecified viral hepatitis B, without hepatic coma
- B19.11 Unspecified viral hepatitis B, with hepatic coma
- B19.2 Unspecified viral hepatitis C
- B19.20 Unspecified viral hepatitis C, without hepatic coma
- B19.21 Unspecified viral hepatitis C, with hepatic coma
- B19.9 Unspecified viral hepatitis without hepatic coma
Initially, WHD was observed as “International Hepatitis C Awareness Day” by the patient groups of European and Middle Eastern regions in October 2004. Later, with an objective to widen the scope and reach of the one-day global campaign, the World Hepatitis Alliance in 2008 declared May 19th as the first World Hepatitis Day (in association with the patient groups). Afterward, the date was again moved to July 28th in 2010 after the World Health Assembly decided to commemorate the birthday of Baruch Samuel Blumberg – an American Physician who discovered hepatitis B virus (HBV) and developed a diagnostic test and vaccine for the virus, which eventually led to the winning of a Nobel Prize for his work on the virus and its vaccine. WHD was first established to give new generations a better understanding of viral hepatitis. Today, the campaign has grown into a global observance which is celebrated in more than 100 countries and supported by different organizations.
The World Health Organization (WHO) theme for 2020 is – “Hepatitis-free future” – which focuses on preventing Hepatitis B (HBV) among mothers and newborns. On the day of observance, WHO will publish new recommendations on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of the virus. In addition, the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) has launched a global awareness-raising and advocacy campaign entitled “Find the Missing Millions”, (undiagnosed people) to identify people with hepatitis and linking them to care so that their lives are not lost. It aims to identify the main barriers to hepatitis diagnosis by placing the affected community and other healthcare organizations at the core.
As part of the global campaign, several health organizations, public organizations and other clinical groups across the world will work together to promote awareness about hepatitis. Free screenings, tests, vaccination camps, poster campaigns and discussions on healthcare topics will be organized. Posters, postcards and videos will be shared via social media platforms to spread key messages about hepatitis prevention, transmission, testing and treatment on World Hepatitis Day.
Get involved in spreading awareness of hepatitis around the world on July 28. Educate people about hepatitis prevention, diagnosis, and control measures.