The study showing that the ongoing transmission of the viral hepatitis with more than 50 000 newly diagnosing cases of hepatitis B and hepatitis C each year. These figures do not provide the full picture of the epidemiological burden, as ECDC estimates that around 9 million Europeans live with chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C.
However, till know there is no standardised system in place to monitor and evaluate the progress made towards the hepatitis targets included in the SDG, the Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis and the World Health Organization’s European Action Plan for the elimination of hepatitis. This includes many people with an asymptomatic and hence undiagnosed and untreated hepatitis infection, which can lead to liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.
Hepatitis infection transmission
Hepatitis refers to an inflammation of the liver cells and damage to the liver. There are different types and causes, but the symptoms can be similar. As the liver’s functions include detoxifying the blood, storing vitamins, and producing hormones. Hepatitis can disrupt these processes and create severe health problems throughout the body.
Then the ECDC developing a monitoring framework with pre-defined indicators for hepatitis B and C, which is closely aligned with the targets and milestones in the European Action plan as well as monitoring and evaluation framework developed by the WHO. It was rolled out at the end of 2018 and the collected data are currently analysed by ECDC. At least five viruses can cause hepatitis. The three most common are hepatitis viruses A, B and C. Infection with any of these three can be fatal.
The incidence of hepatitis
For hepatitis B, 13 countries were able to provide estimates of the diagnosis rate and for hepatitis C; data came from 18 countries. Four countries (Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway) achieved the 2020 target of diagnosing half of all the people with chronic HBV infection. Among the countries reporting HCV data; eight have already achieved the target for next year to diagnose 50% of chronic hepatitis C infections.
These findings illustrate that reaching and testing those at risk of hepatitis infection; is still a public health challenge across Europe. Targeted testing is thus an essential element of any strategy to eliminate viral hepatitis; across the countries in the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA). In the United States; the incidence of hepatitis A has been falling for the last 20 years; but acute hepatitis C has seen an increase of 44% between 2011 and 2012.