Help find missing millions suffering from hepatitis

Newham Council is shining the light on people who may be living with the hepatitis virus without even knowing about it.

Tuesday 28 July is World Hepatitis Day and this year’s theme is Find the Missing Millions. Worldwide, 290 million people are living with viral hepatitis unaware. Without finding the undiagnosed and linking them to care, millions will continue to suffer, and lives will be lost.

Newham Council, which has adopted 50 steps towards a healthier Newham strategy for the borough, is committed to working with health partners to raise awareness about communicable diseases such as hepatitis so that affected residents can be treated.

Hepatitis is the term used to describe inflammation of the liver and is caused either by a viral infection or the result of drinking excess alcohol. There are several different types and the treatment varies depending on the cause. Some types will pass without any serious problems, while others can be long-lasting (chronic) and cause scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), loss of liver function and, in some cases, liver cancer.

Some people show no symptoms while others can suffer muscle and joint pain, high temperature, feeling unusually tired all the time, yellowing of the eyes and skin, to list just a few. Others include:

  • A general sense of feeling unwell
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tummy pain
  • Dark urine
  • Pale, grey-coloured poo
  • Itchy skin

If you have any persistent or troublesome symptoms that you think may be caused by hepatitis, see your doctor.

Councillor Firoza Nekiwala, deputy cabinet member for health and social care said;
"Hepatitis is one of the world’s most pressing public health issue affecting the liver and for that reason it’s important for Newham residents to recognise the symptoms so that they can be tested and treated on time.

“Whilst testing and treatment are key to eliminating hepatitis we need a strong focus on prevention and therefore I’m urging you to share this message with your family, friends and your loved ones. It’s crucial to contact your GP if you or anyone you know have any persistent or troublesome symptoms that you think could be caused by hepatitis.”

For more information visit the NHS website or contact your GP.

Published: 27 Jul 2020