Thursday, March 30, 2017

How to Fight the Scourge of Hepatitis

Achieving improvements in prevention, detection and treatment could help eliminate hepatitis B and C as serious public health problems in the United States, and save nearly 90,000 lives by 2030, according to a new report.

About 1.3 million people in the US UU. Have chronic hepatitis B, and about 2.7 million have chronic hepatitis C. These infections cause about 80 percent of all liver cancer cases worldwide.

The incidence of liver cancer in the United States increased by 38 percent between 2003 and 2012. Deaths from liver cancer increased by 56 percent during that period, mainly due to viral hepatitis, according to the report of the Academies National Science, Engineering and Medicine.

"Viral hepatitis simply does not have enough priority in the United States," lamented report committee chairman Dr. Brian Strom, rector, and professor of biomedical and health sciences at Rutgers University in Newark New Jersey.

"Despite being the seventh leading cause of death in the world, and to end the lives of more. and more people every year than HIV, road accidents or diabetes, viral hepatitis accounts for less than 1 percent Of the research budget of the US National Institutes of Health, "Strom said in a news release from the academies.

How hepatitis is spread 

Hepatitis B spreads through body fluids, for example through sexual contact or sharing of drug use items IV. It can also be transmitted from an infected woman to her baby at birth.

Hepatitis C also spreads through blood contact, and most people become infected by sharing needles and other types of drug use, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). UU.

There is a vaccine for hepatitis B, and hepatitis C can be cured with little drug treatments, according to the report.

The number of deaths in EE. UU. For hepatitis B could have been halved by 2030 if:

  • About 90 percent of chronic hepatitis B patients are diagnosed.
  • About 90 percent of diagnosed patients receive care.
  • About 80 percent of patients who need treatment receive it.

Those measures would prevent more than 60,000 deaths and also reduce liver cancer and cirrhosis from hepatitis B infection by about 45 percent, according to the report.

Treat all patients with chronic hepatitis C in EE. UU. Would lead to:

  • A 90 percent reduction in new infections by 2030.
  • A 65 percent reduction in hepatitis C deaths.
  • 28,000 fewer deaths by 2030.

But eliminating hepatitis B and C as serious public health threats in the United States by 2030 requires dynamic testing, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention methods, such as needle exchange, the report said.

The authors of the report emphasized that a coordinated federal effort is needed. They recommended the expansion of syringe exchanges for injecting drug users, free access to hepatitis B vaccine in pharmacies and other easily accessible places, and free treatment for anyone with hepatitis C.

Medications to cure chronic hepatitis C are costly: the complete regimen for a patient costs about $ 90,000. One way to make it more affordable is to create voluntary licensing agreements between the federal government and patent owners, according to the report.

The report committee also recommended tests and vaccines for hepatitis B in prisons. The authors also said that hepatitis C infections of inmates should be detected and treated. They noted that there are many hepatitis infections in prisons.

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