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World Hepatitis Day

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Are your Signs Accurate?

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), an estimated 1.34 million people died globally from this disease in 2015. In comparison, numbers that high match those caused by tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. According to the World Hepatitis Day website, “Currently, 90% of people living with hepatitis B and 80% living with hepatitis C are not aware of their status.” We all need to be educated. This is not a disease found in just one country or in one particular ethnicity. Here is the chance to educate ourselves. Check out the website dedicated to the even this year at http://www.worldhepatitisday.org/en/about-us

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. Note that Type E is very dangerous for pregnant women.

Listed below are some key facts about each type of Hepatitis taken from the WHO website. For more information visit http://www.who.int/hepatitis/en/

Key Facts of Hepatitis Types

  • Type A – transmitted through ingestion of contaminated food and water or through direct contact with an infectious person. Almost everyone recovers from this Type. There is also a vaccine.
  • Type B – transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person. This is a chronic infection with no cure. There is a vaccine for this Type.
  • Type C – transmitted through exposure to small quantities of blood. This can happen through injection drug use, unsafe injection practices, and unsafe health care. Certain individual’s own immune system will clear the infection. For others, antiviral medications can cure about 95% of others. Hepatitis C has no vaccine.
  • Type D – transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person. There is no effective treatment and no vaccine. Infection with this virus cannot occur in the absence of the Hepatitis B virus. However, vaccinations against Hepatitis B is a good preventative measure to infection by Type D.
  • Type E – transmitted mainly through contaminated drinking water. It is a self-limiting infection that resolves itself in about two to six weeks. There is a vaccine developed in China, but is it not available elsewhere.

What does this mean for workers? Since many of these types are transmitted through bodily fluids including blood, they fall under OSHA’s purview. Under 29CFR 1910.1030, the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard, and the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act of 2000 there are specific safeguards, trainings, labels, and signs that must be used in the workplace to prevent exposure to potentially infectious material. 

A link to the standard: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_id=10051&p_table=STANDARDS

ICC Compliance Center offers a full line of biohazard labels and signs that meet the OSHA standard. We also offer a training and full packaging line for shipments of these biological substances. Check us out today!

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