PHILIPSBURG–The Health Ministry’s Collective Prevention Services (CPS) urges the population to take steps to eliminate hepatitis, a viral infection that affects 325 million people worldwide.
CPS’ call comes on the heels of World Hepatitis Day, which was observed on July 28, under the theme “Test. Treat. Hepatitis.”
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. The condition can be self-limiting or can progress to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis in the world, but other infections, toxic substances (e.g. alcohol, certain drugs), and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis. There are five main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. These five types are of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death they cause and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), viral hepatitis B and C are major health challenges, affecting 325 million people globally. They are root causes of liver cancer, leading to 1.34 million deaths every year in cases that may not show symptoms for a long period, sometimes years or decades.
At least 60 per cent of liver cancer cases are due to late testing and treatment of viral hepatitis B and C. Low coverage of testing and treatment is the most important gap to be addressed to achieve the global elimination goals by 2030, according to the WHO.
Hepatitis can be fully prevented and treated: there are effective vaccines and treatments for hepatitis B, and new hepatitis C treatment can cure in more than 95 per cent of cases. Timely testing and treatment of viral hepatitis B and C can save lives, CPS said in a press release on Wednesday.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/79409-cps-calls-on-populace-to-eliminate-hepatitis