Global cases of hepatitis B and C hit 325 million

21 Avril, 2017, 19:12 | Author: Cyril Hebras
  • Hepatitis

Consequently, WHO said they remain untreated and are at risk of "a slow progression to chronic liver disease, cancer and death".

Lack of awareness among those infected is driving the virus's spread.

Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person.

This WHO Global hepatitis report describes, for the first time, the global and regional estimates on viral hepatitis in 2015, setting the baseline for tracking progress in implementing the new global strategy.

Alcoholic hepatitis: Caused by drinking excessive amounts of alcohol over many years.

Gottfried Hirnschall, director of WHO's Department of HIV and the Global Hepatitis Programme, said the World Health Organization was working with governments, drugmakers and diagnostics companies to improve access. However, while TB- and HIV-related deaths have been declining, deaths from hepatitis are on the rise. "Since 2000 and 2015, we have seen a 22 percent increase from one million, as I said, to 1.34 million".

The report aims to standardize the understanding of the disease, which is a vital starting point for evaluating improvement towards reaching the 2030 goal to eliminate the disease, and reveals the regional and global new baseline data on the impact of viral hepatitis B and C.

Around 1.75 million people were newly infected with HCV in 2015, bringing the global total to 71 million, with experts identifying unsafe healthcare procedures and injection drug use as the top causes.

New infections of this type of the disease are falling, thanks to a vaccine given to 84 per cent of newborns across the world.

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Ana Maria Henao Restrepo, team leader, WHO Department of Immunisation, Vaccines and Biologicals, also speaking at the briefing, underlined the impact of vaccination campaigns.

The mortality rate of hepatitis B and C is comparable to that of tuberculosis, he said, outrunning that of malaria and HIV.

"That is great and as I mentioned because of this, 85 percent of the infants worldwide are protected with three doses of hepatitis B vaccine". Where we are lagging behind is on the first dose that is given after birth.

FILE - Paula Maupin, the public health nurse for eastern Indiana's Fayette County, holds one of the syringes provided to intravenous drug users taking part in the county's state-approved needle exchange program, which is housed in the county courthouse.

Europe and the eastern Mediterranean region are afflicted with the most hepatitis C cases at 14 million and 15 million respectively.

"More countries are making hepatitis services available for people in need - a diagnostic test costs less than $1 and the cure for hepatitis C can be below $200", he said.

Answering a question about the high prices of hepatitis C medicines in developed countries, and the rationing of medicines, Hirnschall said many countries have different policies and treatment guidelines.

"They were very high to start with".

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