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28 July 2014, 06:19
Doctors are warning people in the North East could be living with Hepatitis and not know about it.
A local NHS Trust is helping to raise awareness of hepatitis by supporting World Hepatitis Day.
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW) is promoting the Think Again Campaign, which is one of eight official global health campaigns, to its 6,000 strong workforce.
Infection, Prevention and Control Matron, Carole Rutter, said:
"Viral hepatitis kills 1.5 million people worldwide each year and is the world's eighth biggest killer. It affects hundreds of people worldwide causing acute and chronic disease.
By helping to promote World Hepatitis Day it helps to raise awareness of the different forms of hepatitis, strengthen prevention and improve screening."
Viral hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by a virus and can be caused by five different hepatitis viruses, A, B, C, D and E.
All of these viruses can cause long term infection which can lead to life threatening complications and is the leading cause of liver cancer, which is the second biggest cancer killer.
Dr Steve Masson's a liver specialist from Newcastle's Freeman Hospital.
He's told Heart people who think they could be infected should go and get themselves checked out.
'We reckon that there are probably about 2,000 people in Newcastle, Northumberland and North of Tyne who are living with Hepatitis C.
And there's a similar number with Hepatitis B.
The commonest route for people route of transmission for people born in the UK is for people who've ever injected drugs."
World Hepatitis Day takes place on the 28th of July every year and provides an international focus for patient groups and people living with viral hepatitis.
The day provides an opportunity to raise awareness and influence real change in disease prevention and access to testing and treatment.
For more information on the campaign visit www.worldhepatitisalliance.org