July 28 is observed as “World Hepatitis Day (WHD)” with the objective to generate widespread awareness about hepatitis – an inflammatory condition of the liver. Sponsored by the World Hepatitis Alliance, this yearly campaign aims to bring the world together under a single theme to raise awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis and to effect real change. Also called viral hepatitis, the condition is characterized by inflammation and damage of the liver cells. Hepatitis is 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. Each of these has different characteristics but similar symptoms. Treatment options may depend on the type of hepatitis and the severity of the infection. For correct clinical documentation of this liver disorder, physicians can utilize medical billing outsourcing services.

As per reports from the World Health Organization (WHO), Hepatitis B and C are the most common infections, which result in 1.1 million deaths and 3 million new infections each year. Reports from Pan America Health Organization (PAHO) show that every 5 minutes someone loses their life to a hepatitis–related illness in the United States. It is estimated that there are 10,000 new hepatitis B infections each year, and 23,000 deaths. New WHO estimates of Hepatitis C show that each year there are 67,000 new infections in the Americas and 84,000 deaths.

The 2021 worldwide campaign aims to spread the unique message that a hepatitis-free future is achievable with a united effort. Through this campaign, WHO is calling on all countries to work together to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by the end of 2030. Generally, patients experience only mild symptoms in the beginning and in other cases there may not be any specific symptoms at all. Even in cases where symptoms appear, they tend to occur 2 weeks to 6 months after infection, which applies to all kinds of hepatitis. Common symptoms include – yellow skin or eyes, swelling of the lower extremities, nausea and vomiting, muscle or joint aches, jaundice, itchy skin, fatigue, dark urine, abdominal pain and loss of appetite and weight.

WHD is the perfect day for the world’s hepatitis community to unite and make their voices heard. It is also a unique opportunity to generate awareness and encourage a real political change to jointly facilitate prevention, diagnosis and treatment. The observance aims to raise awareness about the importance to educate people about hepatitis status and to spread word about early diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control measures and to encourage people to get tested early on this disease. Initial diagnosis of the condition begins with a physical examination to check for any potential signs of infection. Liver function tests and other blood tests may also be requested as part of the diagnosis. In addition, imaging tests like CAT scan, ultrasound and liver biopsy may also be performed. Treatment modalities for this condition 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). Physicians may recommend consumption of antiviral medications for the other two chronic forms of Hepatitis B and C. For chronic Hepatitis C patients, liver transplantation may be recommended as a final option if the patient develops liver cirrhosis (scarring of the liver). Hepatologists, gastroenterologists and other infectious disease specialists who diagnose and treat hepatitis patients can choose an experienced medical billing company to meet claim documentation and submission tasks in an accurate manner. 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 …… without hepatic coma
      • B17.11 …… 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 …… without hepatic coma
      • B19.11 …… with hepatic coma
    • B19.2 Unspecified viral hepatitis C
      • B19.20 …… without hepatic coma
      • B19.21 …… with hepatic coma
  • B19.9 Unspecified viral hepatitis without hepatic coma

The World Hepatitis Alliance in 2008 declared May 19th as the first World Hepatitis Day (in association with patient groups). Later, the date was changed to July 28th in 2010 after the World Health Assembly decided to commemorate the birthday of an American Physician – “Baruch Samuel Blumberg”. He 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. With each passing year, the reach of the campaign widened with it now becoming a global observance being celebrated in more than 100 countries and supported by different organizations.

This theme for this year’s WHD campaign is – “Hepatitis Can’t Wait”, – conveying the urgency of efforts needed to eliminate hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. As part of the 2021 observance, several health organizations, public organizations and other clinical groups across the world will work together to promote awareness about hepatitis. To mark the global campaign, the WHO is hosting a high level “Global Talk Show” – that provides a platform for global, regional and national leaders, policymakers, communities and other stakeholders to discuss opportunities for accelerating the hepatitis response to achieve elimination of the disease by 2030. Contributions and stories from countries in different WHO regions will be showcased at the event. In addition, several free screening 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. People can post or share hashtags – #HepCantWait via social media platforms to spread key messages about hepatitis prevention, transmission, testing and treatment on WHD.

Participate in World Hepatitis Day (WHD) Campaign on July 28, 2021 and Take Action for Hepatitis Elimination.