Since 2010, World Hepatitis Day is observed on July 28th. The goal is to raise awareness of hepatitis as well as the prevention and treatment of the disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hepatitis cause two in every three liver cancer deaths and overall 1.34 million deaths a year. We all need to be educated. This is not a disease found in just one country, a particular ethnicity or age. Here is the chance to educate ourselves.
Hepatitis is the inflammation of liver tissue. It is most commonly caused by a virus and there are five main ones commonly referred to as Types A, B, C, D and E. Types A and E are usually short-term (acute) diseases. Types B, C, and D are likely to become chronic. Type A is contracted by direct contact with fecal matter or drinking water contaminated with fecal matter. that has the virus in it. Type E is the result of indirect contact with fecal contaminated food and water. This is why many people are under the misconception that you can only get hepatitis in 3rd world countries where sanitation is not the best. Types B and C are caused by contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids such as blood. Type D can only happen if someone is currently infected with Type B.
This year’s theme is to “Find the Missing Millions”. According to the World Hepatitis Day website, there are about 290-300 million people are living with viral hepatitis and are unaware of it. A major step in reducing the number of people that COULD be infected is to work to find those that are undiagnosed and get them care. There is a great video at http://www.worldhepatitisday.org/ that goes over the many facts shown above and reiterates this year’s theme.
What does this mean for workers? Since many of these types are transmitted through bodily fluids including blood, they fall under OSHA’s purview. The standard that address this is 29CFR 1910.1030. The current standard also includes the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act of 2000. Many of us know it as the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard. In it are specific safeguards, trainings, labels and signs that must be used in the workplace to prevent exposure to potentially infectious material. The Bloodborne Pathogen training is required yearly for all workers. Both OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have resources and materials available for free.
ICC Compliance Center offers a full line of biohazard labels and signs that meet the OSHA standard. We also offer training and full packaging line for shipments of these biological substances. Check us out today!