With an objective to create global awareness about viral hepatitis – an inflammatory condition of the liver – “World Hepatitis Day (WHD)” is observed on July 28 every year. Launched by the World Hepatitis Alliance, the one-day campaign offers an ideal opportunity to join together and raise the profile of viral hepatitis among the public, the world’s media and on the global health agenda. Regarded as one of the biggest global health threats of our time, viral hepatitis B and C affects about 325 million people worldwide, causing 1.4 million deaths a year (WHO, 2019 statistics). Hepatitis refers to an inflammation of the liver cells and damage to the liver which is usually the result of a viral infection caused by heavy alcohol use, toxins, use of certain medications and occurrence of certain medical conditions. There are three different types of hepatitis namely – hepatitis A, B and C. All three types can be acute, (lasting for 6 months or less), have different characteristics but similar symptoms. Infections with any of these types can be deadly. Treatment modalities for this condition depend on the type of hepatitis and the severity of infection. Hepatologists, gastroenterologists and other infectious disease specialists treating this liver condition may partner with established medical billing and coding companies to report hepatitis correctly with the latest ICD-10 diagnostic codes.

In any infectious forms of hepatitis, people may not experience any specific symptoms in the beginning. Symptoms may not occur until the damage affects liver function. Typical symptoms include – fatigue, unexplained weight loss, pale stools, loss of appetite, flu-like symptoms, dark urine, abdominal pain and yellow skin and eyes, (which may be signs of jaundice).

The 2019 one-day campaign is a strong platform to generate public awareness and understanding of the disease, its related complications and promote and support sincere efforts to diagnose, treat and prevent the condition in the long run. Initial diagnosis of this condition starts with a physical examination, liver function tests and blood tests. Imaging tests like ultrasound, CAT scan, liver biopsy may also be used. Treatment modality for this inflammatory liver condition may depend on the type and severity of infections – whether it is acute or chronic. Normally, Hepatitis A infections do not require any specific treatment. Bed rest may be recommended for such patients, if symptoms cause a great deal of discomfort. However, for other chronic forms of hepatitis like – B and C – antiviral medicines will be recommended. Liver transplantation will be recommended as a last option for people who develop cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or liver disease as a result of chronic hepatitis C.

When documenting hepatitis, hepatologists and other infectious disease specialists must include the associated symptoms, diagnosis screening tests and treatment procedures performed using the correct medical codes. Medical billing and coding services provided by reputable medical billing companies can help physicians use the correct codes for their medical billing purposes.

ICD-10 Codes for Viral Hepatitis

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

World Hepatitis Day was first observed as “International Hepatitis C Awareness Day” by the patient groups of European and Middle Eastern regions in October 2004. However, with an objective to improve the reach of the campaign, the World Hepatitis Alliance in 2008 declared May 19th as the first World Hepatitis Day (in association with the patient groups). Soon after, the date was again changed and finalized to July 28th globally to honor the “Nobel Laureate Baruch Samuel Blumberg” on his birthday anniversary (28th of July) as he discovered the hepatitis B virus. More than 100 countries mark this day on 28th July, since then.

As part of the World Hepatitis Day 2019 observance, the World Health Organization (WHO) is promoting the theme – “Invest in Eliminating Hepatitis”. The theme signifies the need for eliminating hepatitis by finding the millions of people of living with the condition worldwide and providing access to testing and treatment. Additionally, the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) has launched a global awareness-raising and advocacy campaign entitled “Find the Missing Millions”, (undiagnosed people) from across the world and linking them to care so that their lives are not lost. The campaign aims to discover the main barriers to hepatitis diagnosis by placing the affected community and other healthcare organizations at the core.

The WHD is observed across the world in several venues including healthcare organizations, public places and other clinical groups. Organizations such as the United Nations and the World Hepatitis Alliance work together with individuals and community groups to promote worldwide awareness about hepatitis. A wide variety of activities including – free screenings, tests, diagnoses, poster campaigns, vaccination camps, talk shows, diet education, and discussions on healthcare topics will be organized. Public awareness will also be generated via social media platforms.

Get Involved in WHD Day observance on July 28! Spread more awareness about viral hepatitis and the importance of early diagnosis and testing.