CN Tower
Lighting draws attention to hepatitis. Viral types B and C affect nearly 500,000 Canadians combined.

Toronto's iconic CN Tower was lit red and yellow Thursday night to celebrate this week's 16th edition of the Global Hepatitis Summit, held for the first time in Canada. The conference, which happens every two years, is taking place in the city from June 14 to 17.

The Summit will be at the Metro Convention Centre and is bringing together more than 1,000 delegates from 77 countries. It will showcase the latest research on basic science, treatment, and public policy for all five types of viral hepatitis: A, B, C, D and E.

The Global Hepatitis Summit 2018 is chaired by UHN's physicians and researchers Drs. Harry Janssen, Jordan Feld and Adam Gehring.

The two major forms are hepatitis B and C, which can both lead to liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Worldwide viral hepatitis causes 1.46 million deaths annually, a toll higher than from other infectious diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis or malaria. It's been on the increase since 1990.

Canada currently has an estimated 230,000 patients with hepatitis B and 250,000 with hepatitis C, and a majority of them don't even know they are sick

"More than half of them have not been diagnosed," says Dr. Janssen. "It is urgently needed to identify these patients and treat them in order to prevent liver failure and liver cancer in the future."

With excellent treatment for viral hepatitis B and C available, the world is stepping up efforts to eliminate both diseases by 2030, according to the goals set by the World Health Organization.

The Toronto Summit will analyse the progress made and the impact of both types of hepatitis on rates of cirrhosis and liver cancer in Canada and globally, and on key populations at highest risk of infection.

The red and yellow colours on the CN Tower will become fully visible once the sky darkens sufficiently, about 30 minutes after the sun goes down. As it does every night, there is a standard light show on the CN Tower that runs for eight minutes at the top of every hour. The red and yellow colours will follow.

Visit the Summit website for full details of the program. [Editor's Note: Link is no longer available.]

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