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World Hepatitis Day (WHD) is observed annually on July 28th every year. Sponsored by the World Hepatitis Alliance, the annual campaign aims to raise public awareness about hepatitis (also called viral hepatitis) – a condition that causes chronic inflammation and damage of the liver cells. The annual observance offers a unique platform to raise awareness of the importance of knowing about hepatitis and to spread the word about treatment options. Hepatitis may occur due to viral infection caused by the consumption of certain medications, heavy alcohol use, toxins and certain medical conditions. There are three different types of hepatitis – A, B, and C – each having its own individual characteristics. Often, the disease is preventable as most people recover from hepatitis. Treatment for this liver condition may depend on the type of hepatitis and the severity of infection. However, if left untreated, it can destroy liver tissue; weaken the body’s immune system, lead to failure of liver functions and even liver cancer. For correct clinical documentation of hepatitis, physicians can utilize outsourced medical billing and coding services.

The campaign is an opportunity to step up national and international efforts on preventing hepatitis, encourage actions and engagement by individuals, partners and the public and highlight the need for a greater global response. According to reports from the World Hepatitis Alliance, every 30 seconds a person is dying from a hepatitis-related illness. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that about 1,100,000 deaths per year are caused by Hepatitis B and C infections. It is estimated that about 9,400,000 people are receiving treatment for chronic hepatitis C virus infections. Caused by infections, viral hepatitis can either be acute (lasting less than six months) or chronic (lasting more than six months). It can spread from person to person.

The campaign aims to spread information among the general public the need to identify the symptoms of the condition at an early stage and recognize the importance of timely diagnosis and treatment to prevent infection. 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 of viral hepatitis include – yellow skin or eyes, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, swelling of the lower extremities, muscle or joint ache, jaundice, itchy skin, fatigue, dark urine and loss of appetite and weight.

As part of the 2022 WHD annual observance, the World Health Organization (WHO) is highlighting the need for bringing hepatitis care closer to the primary health facilities and communities. This ensures that people have better access to treatment and care, no matter what type of hepatitis they may have. Diagnosis of this condition involves a physical examination to identify any specific signs of infection. Blood tests and liver function tests may be performed to identify the form of hepatitis a person has and whether it is caused by a virus. In addition, imaging tests like CAT scan, ultrasound and liver biopsy may also be performed.

Treatment for viral hepatitis may depend on the type of hepatitis, type of liver inflammation and severity of infection (whether it is acute or chronic). Treatment involves a combination of rest and antiviral medications. However, for chronic forms of hepatitis, 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 the services of reputable medical billing and coding companies to meet claim documentation and submission tasks in a timely manner.

ICD-10 Codes for Different Types of 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 …… 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

It was in the year 2008, that the World Hepatitis Alliance declared May 19th as the first “World Hepatitis Day” (in association with patient groups). However, in the year 2010, the date was further was changed to July 28th as the World Health Assembly decided to commemorate the birthday of an American Physician – “Baruch Samuel Blumberg”. It was Baruch Samuel Blumberg 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. Within the span of 12 years, the reach of the campaign widened and has now become a global observance being observed in more than 100 countries and supported by different organizations.

“Hepatitis Can’t Wait’ is the theme for the World Hepatitis Day 2022. The theme aims to highlight the need to accelerate the fight against viral hepatitis and the importance of testing and treatment for the people who really need it. The campaign will also amplify the voices of people affected by viral hepatitis, calling for immediate action and the end of stigma and discrimination. As part of the 2022 observance, health organizations and other clinical groups across the world will work together to promote awareness about hepatitis and what needs to be done to strengthen efforts in prevention, screening and control of viral hepatitis.

There are several ways people can take part in the campaign. These include – using and sharing online tools to assess hepatitis risk and take action, incorporating the WHD logo (into website, blog posts, social media, email, and other communications) and downloading and sharing “Hepatitis Can’t Wait” educational campaign materials, toolkits, and other resources. People can also join the conversation on social media platforms by using the hashtags #WorldHepatitisDay, #HepAware, and #hepatitis to share information on viral hepatitis, local, national, and global events, and World Hepatitis Day.

Take part in WHD Campaign on July 28, 2022 and spread awareness about this inflammatory liver condition.