WHO to recognize World Hepatitis Day

The World Health Organization will welcome new progress in tackling one of the world's most serious diseases on July 28 for World Hepatitis Day.

The WHO will also recognize World Hepatitis Day by releasing a new manual for tackling outbreaks of hepatitis E, according to a WHO press release.

"For years, viral hepatitis has been largely neglected," Margaret Chan, the director-general of WHO, said. "But now we are beginning to see greater awareness and global momentum building to tackle it."

Recent innovations to fight hepatitis include new drugs to combat hepatitis C that result in cure rates of more than 90 percent. The WHO also released new guidelines in April for the screening, care and treatment of people with hepatitis C.

Similar guidelines for the prevention and treatment of hepatitis B are also in development.

"Increasing access to curative treatment for hepatitis B and C and expanding hepatitis B vaccination, and other prevention strategies, provide real opportunities for us to save lives and prevent suffering," Gottfried Hirnschall, the director of the HIV Department at the WHO, said. "We are urging ministries of health to 'think again' about hepatitis and develop policies that translate into prevention and life-saving treatments."

This year's World Hepatitis Day also coincides with the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia.