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Societal impact of Viral Hepatitis

Societal impact of Viral Hepatitis

IMG_8502Viral hepatitis, in particular due to hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV), has become a major health problem. About 2000 million people have been infected with HBV worldwide, of whom more than 350 million are chronically infected and 500,000–700,000 people die annually. Some 130–170 million people are chronically infected with HCV, and more than 350,000 people die from HCV-related liver diseases each year. The incidence of infections has been reduced by the implementation of universal infant hepatitis B vaccination and screening measures for both viruses.  However, new HBV cases still occur in infants of HBV-infected mothers and in adults who have not been immunized at birth. The high treatment cost, the morbidity and mortality, and the socio-economic impact of viral hepatitis pose major challenges. Properly developed strategies integrating scientific, clinical, and community aspects are essential for the prevention, treatment, and control of this disease.