New York (ABC Live):Hepatitis Patients : New data published by the United Nations health agency has revealed that a vast majority of the estimated 325 million Hepatitis Patients with chronic hepatitis B virus or hepatitis C virus infection lack access to life-saving testing and treatment, placing them at a great risk of chronic liver disease, cancer, and even death.
According to the UN World Health Organization (WHO)’s 2017 Global Hepatitis Report, just 9 per cent of all hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections were diagnosed in 2015. An even smaller fraction – merely 8 per cent and 7 per cent– of those diagnosed with HBV and HCV, respectively, started curative treatment during that year.
“Viral hepatitis is now recognized as a major public health challenge that requires an urgent response,” said Margaret Chan, the Director-General of WHO, in a news release announcing the findings.
“Vaccines and medicines to tackle hepatitis exist, and [we] are committed to helping ensure these tools reach all those who need them.”
The report also revealed that increased coverage of HBV vaccinations among children have contributed substantially to preventing deaths from that virus.
Globally, 84 per cent of children born in 2015 received the three recommended doses of HBV vaccine.
However, an estimated 257 million Hepatitis Patients, mostly adults born before the introduction of the HBV vaccine, were living with chronic HBV infection in 2015. There is also currently no vaccine against HCV, and access to treatment for both HBV and HCV is low for Hepatitis Patients.