Showing posts with label CDC- World Hepatitis Day 2013. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CDC- World Hepatitis Day 2013. Show all posts

Thursday, July 25, 2013

WHO urges governments to act on hepatitis threat

WHO urges governments to act on hepatitis threat
World Hepatitis Day 2013

24 July 2013 | GENEVA - On World Hepatitis Day (28 July), WHO is urging governments to act against the five hepatitis viruses that can cause severe liver infections and lead to 1.4 million deaths every year. Some of these hepatitis viruses, most notably types B and C, can also lead to chronic and debilitating illnesses such as liver cancer and cirrhosis, and in addition to, loss of income and high medical expenses for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

Viral hepatitis is referred to as a ‘silent epidemic’ because most persons do not realize that they are infected and, over decades, slowly progress to liver disease. Many countries are only now realizing the magnitude of the disease burden and devising ways to address it.

“The fact that many hepatitis B and C infections are silent, causing no symptoms until there is severe damage to the liver, points to the urgent need for universal access to immunization, screening, diagnosis and antiviral therapy,” says Dr Keiji Fukuda, WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Security and the Environment.

"Many of the measures needed to prevent the spread of viral hepatitis disease can be put in place right now, and doing so will offset the heavy economic costs of treating and hospitalizing patients in future."

Dr Sylvie Briand, Director, WHO Pandemic and Epidemic Diseases 

This year, in the run up to World Hepatitis Day, the Organization is releasing its first-ever country hepatitis survey, covering 126 countries. The WHO "Global policy report on the prevention and control of viral hepatitis in WHO Member States" identifies successes as well as gaps at country level in the implementation of four priority areas. The priority areas are raising awareness, evidence-based data for action, prevention of transmission, and screening, care and treatment.

The findings show that 37% of the countries have national strategies for viral hepatitis, and more work is needed in treating hepatitis. It also highlights that while most of the countries (82%) have established hepatitis surveillance programmes, only half of them include the monitoring of chronic hepatitis B and C, which are responsible for most severe illnesses and deaths.

“Many of the measures needed to prevent the spread of viral hepatitis disease can be put in place right now, and doing so will offset the heavy economic costs of treating and hospitalizing patients in future,” says Dr Sylvie Briand, Director, Pandemic and Epidemic Diseases at WHO. “The findings underline the important work that is being done by governments to halt hepatitis through the implementation of WHO recommended policies and actions.”

The challenges posed by hepatitis were formally acknowledged by the World Health Assembly in 2010 when it adopted its first resolution on viral hepatitis, and called for a comprehensive approach to prevention and control. This has promoted a new era of awareness with more governments proactively working to address the disease. Reinforcing that call for action, WHO has been collaborating closely with countries and partners to build a strong global response. As a result, the new report notes, 38% of countries observe World Hepatitis Day (an annual event that began in 2010) with even more countries expected to mark the day this year.

In addition to collaborating closely with countries, WHO has been working on developing networks and mechanisms that can deliver results. The Organization is exploring with international funding agencies avenues that could allow hepatitis to be included in their current programme of activities. In June 2013, WHO launched the Global Hepatitis Network. One of its aims is to support countries with planning and implementation of viral hepatitis plans and programmes.

WHO is currently developing new hepatitis C screening, care and treatment guidelines, which will provide recommendations on seven key areas such as testing approaches; behavioural interventions (alcohol reduction); non-invasive assessment of liver fibrosis; and the selection of hepatitis C drug combinations.

”New, more effective medicines to prevent the progression of chronic hepatitis B and C are in the pipeline. However, these will be expensive and therapy will require monitoring with sophisticated laboratory tests. To cure and reduce the spread of these viruses, medicines must become more accessible,” says Dr Stefan Wiktor, Team lead of WHO’s Global Hepatitis Programme.
Additional background information

The complexity of hepatitis disease lies in the existence of different types of viruses. Hepatitis A and E are foodborne and waterborne infections which cause millions of cases of acute illness every year, sometimes with several months needed for a person to fully recover.

Hepatitis B, C, and D are spread by infected body fluids including blood, by sexual contact, mother-to-child transmission during birth, or by contaminated medical equipment. Hepatitis B and C have a greater health burden in terms of death because they can cause life-long infection (called chronic infection), which can lead to liver cirrhosis and cancer. In fact, chronic hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.

WHO-approved vaccines are available to prevent hepatitis A and B, while screening of blood donors, assuring clean needle and syringes, and condom use can prevent bloodborne and sexual transmission.
Hepatitis B can be prevented by reaching every child with immunization programmes that include hepatitis B vaccine. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. In addition, infections can be prevented by protecting against mother-to-child transmission of the virus and ensuring the safety of blood, transfusion services, organ donation and injection practice (treatment can include antiviral medications if needed).

Hepatitis A and E can be prevented by avoiding contaminated food and water; in addition, there is an effective WHO approved vaccine for hepatitis A.

Hepatitis medicines are now included in the WHO Essential Medicines List, which Member States are encouraged to adopt. Essential medicines are selected based on disease prevalence, safety, efficacy, and comparative cost-effectiveness. The WHO Model List can be used by countries as a guide for the development of their own national list.
For more information please contact:

Mr Glenn Thomas
Communications Officer
WHO, Geneva
Telephone: +41 22 791 3983
Mobile: +41 79 509 0677

Monday, July 22, 2013

CDC Features - World Hepatitis Day

World Hepatitis Day

World Hepatitis Day is a time to raise awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis and the damage it can do to the liver.

Viral hepatitis is a major global health threat. There are five major types of viral hepatitis, including Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. All types of viral hepatitis can cause inflammation of the liver; however, Hepatitis B and C infection can result in a lifelong, chronic infection. Worldwide, approximately one million people die each year from chronic viral hepatitis. These deaths are primarily from cirrhosis or liver cancer caused by Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 400 million people have chronic viral hepatitis world wide. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 4.4 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis and most do not know they are infected.
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A can spread through food or water contaminated with fecal matter—even in microscopic amounts. This most often occurs in countries where Hepatitis A is common], especially if personal hygiene or sanitary conditions are poor. Contamination of food can happen at any point: growing, harvesting, processing, handling, and even after cooking. The best way to prevent getting infected with Hepatitis A is to get a safe, effective vaccine.
CDC is collaborating with public health officials in several states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate a multistate outbreak of hepatitis A virus infections linked to pomegranate seeds from Turkey. While foodborne hepatitis A outbreaks are not common in the United States, our global food chain makes outbreaks possible. The current outbreak involves about 150 people in the southwest United States who ate a particular brand of frozen berry mix with pomegranate seeds. The product has been recalled, but the investigation is ongoing. The recalled product has a long shelf life and symptoms of hepatitis A infection can take as long as 6 weeks to appear, so people could continue to get sick. It is important for consumers to check their homes and freezers for the recalled product and not eat it.
Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is common in many areas across the world, especially Asian and African countries. In the United States, an estimated 1 in 12 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) is living with hepatitis B, yet as many as 2 in 3 do not know they are infected. If you or your parents were born in Asia or the Pacific Islands, talk to your doctor about Hepatitis B testing. There is a safe, effective vaccine to prevent Hepatitis B.
CDC recently launched, Know Hepatitis B, a national, multilingual communication campaign aiming to increase testing for Hepatitis B among AAPIs. The campaign delivers culturally relevant messages in English, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese through a variety of multi-media channels. The Know Hepatitis B campaign was created and launched in partnership with Hep B UnitedExternal Web Site Icon, a coalition of Asian community groups from around the country. Hep B United partners conduct community-level outreach and will incorporate campaign materials into their education about Hepatitis B. Visit for more information on the campaign and its resources.
   Worldwide Rates of Chronic Hepatitis. The Hepatitis B virus is common in many areas across the world, especially Asian and African countries.   
Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus. It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected.
Unlike Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, there is no vaccine available to prevent Hepatitis C. The best way to prevent Hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease, such as sharing needles or other equipment to inject cosmetic substances, drugs, or steroids.
Know More Hepatitis is a national Hepatitis C education campaign designed to decrease the burden of chronic Hepatitis C. The campaign is aimed at increasing awareness about this hidden epidemic and encouraging people who may be chronically infected to get tested.
Viral Hepatitis Testing and Vaccination Recommendations
Find out if you are at risk for viral hepatitis and whether or not you should get tested or vaccinated by taking CDC's 5 minute online Hepatitis Risk Assessment.
More Information