A Role for Chlorine Bleach in Battling Hepatitis A

The World Health Organization (WHO) designates each July 28 “World Hepatitis Day.” The purpose of this observance is to raise awareness of the various forms of hepatitis, a disease that affects the human liver. Globally, a person dies from a hepatitis-related illness every 30 seconds, according to the WHO. The 2022 theme of World Hepatitis Day is “I Can’t Wait,” highlighting the importance of testing and treatment for this disease. The theme is also meant to amplify “the voices of people affected by viral hepatitis calling for immediate action and the end of stigma and discrimination.”

This year the World Chlorine Council is marking World Hepatitis Day by promoting a free, downloadable poster (in metric and Imperial or U.S. customary units) to help stem the spread of one common form of hepatitis, hepatitis A. People become exposed to the virus via the fecal-to-oral route, including by ingesting contaminated food or water. The virus can spread rapidly, especially under crowded and unsanitary living conditions. The poster provides simple, “pictogram” directions for mixing an appropriate amount of chlorine bleach and water to make a solution that can be applied to contaminated surfaces, such as toilets and countertops, to destroy the virus. Along with available vaccines and good sanitary practices, such as frequent handwashing, surface disinfection with chlorine bleach is an effective means of combating the spread of hepatitis A.

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