Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most commonly caused by a viral infection. There are five main hepatitis viruses that cause acute and/or chronic infection, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. In particular, types B and C lead to chronic disease in hundreds of millions of people worldwide. In the WHO European Region an estimated 15 million people live with chronic hepatitis B, and an estimated 14 million people are infected with hepatitis C. Because the disease is often asymptomatic and left untreated, chronic hepatitis is a major cause of liver cirrhosis and primary liver cancer. People who inject drugs are particularly vulnerable to hepatitis and co-infection with both hepatitis and HIV is common.
Top storyUniversal access to testing and treatment is key to eliminating viral hepatitis
Viral hepatitis is a public health threat that affects tens of millions in the WHO European Region, more than two thirds of whom live in eastern Europe and central Asia. Every day, thousands of people still become infected, due to exposure through unsafe injection practices and insufficient information and tools for prevention.
- Improved access to health services to eliminate hepatitis C in Portuguese prisons
- Universal access to testing and treatment is key to eliminating viral hepatitis
- Increased coverage in WHO European Region leaves fewer children vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases
PublicationsAction plan for the health sector response to viral hepatitis in the WHO European Region (2017) More publications
InfographicMore data and statistics
Prevent hepatitis. Act now.
WHO Regional Office for Europe works with several key partners on activities related to hepatitisRead more