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article imageWorld Health Organization seeks to end hepatitis

By Tim Sandle     Apr 21, 2017 in Science
Geneva - The World Health Organization has called upon the nations of the world to come together and to work towards the global eliminate of hepatitis.
Hepatitis is a significant disease. The different types of the virus are killing as many people globally as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the bacteria that cause the disease tuberculosis. Over 1.3 million people died of hepatitis infection in 2015 alone (the most recently published figures). Moreover, an estimated 325 million people are infected with types B and C of the virus.
The disease hepatitis and the hepatitis viruses are distinct, partly because there are other ways to contract hepatitis other than viral infection (such as via heavy alcohol use, certain medications, toxins, other infections, autoimmune diseases;
although viral infection accounts for the vast majority of cases).
Hepatitis refers to is inflammation of the liver tissue. With some people there are no symptoms; in others a person develops a yellow discoloration of the skin, experiences poor appetite; and suffers with recurrent vomiting, tiredness, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. The condition can temporary (acute) or long term (chronic). The risk of chronic hepatitis is death from liver failure or liver cancer.
The structure of the Hepatitis C virus
The structure of the Hepatitis C virus
Graham Colm via WikiCommons
With the viruses, there are a groups of unrelated hepatotropic viruses. With the grouping there are five main types of viral hepatitis: type A, B, C, D, and E:
Hepatitis A and E are spread by contaminated food and water.
Hepatitis B is sexually transmitted.
Both hepatitis B and hepatitis C can be spread through infected blood.
Hepatitis D only infect people already infected with hepatitis B.
Hepatitis A, B, and D are preventable with immunization and it is on this basis that the World Health Organization (WHO) thinks levels of infection can be significantly reduced. Announcing the campaign, Dr. Gottfried Hirnschall, who works for the United Nations agency stated: "We are still at an early stage of the viral hepatitis response, but the way forward looks promising. 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." The complexity is with identifying those who need the vaccine, especially in less developed parts of the world.
He added, looking towards what else needs to be done: "But the data clearly highlight the urgency with which we must address the remaining gaps in testing and treatment."
More about Hepatitis, Virus, Disease, World health organization
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