Efforts in motion to eliminate Hepatitis by 2030
Hepatitis comes in five virus varieties that are spread through different means. The disease leads to liver inflammation and infection, among other issues. Worldwide, 2.7 percent of all deaths come as the result of hepatitis, according to Very Well. Hepatitis C alone caused nearly 20,000 deaths in 2014, according to the CDC. In addition, a majority of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer cases are believed to be connected to chronic infections with hepatitis B or C.
As World Hepatitis Day nears on July 28, it's important to understand the prevalence and consequences of this disease. Fortunately, efforts are in motion to substantially reduce hepatitis cases by 2030 and prevent infections of this virus in the future.
Prevention can avert deaths
It's important to understand how each hepatitis strain is transmitted and cured. Of the five hepatitis varieties, B and C are the most dangerous and deadly. Hepatitis B is spread through infected body fluids, while C spreads through exposure to infected blood. Other strains are easily avoidable and can be cured. Millions of people in the U.S. are afflicted with these varieties, but there are modern tools in place to help prevent deaths from hepatitis.
Vaccinations can help prevent certain types of hepatitis.
Hepatitis B is currently treatable with a vaccination, and medical advancements have made Hepatitis C curable through short courses of medicines. By using vaccines, diagnosing patients early and treating them as needed, 90,000 deaths related to hepatitis can be prevented by 2030, Medical Xpress reported. As a result, liver cancer and cirrhosis would also decrease by about 45 percent in that time. These types of benefits can significantly reduce hepatitis cases and issues related to the disease.
"Developing a national program would provide medical care and supportive service."
Federal government may lead the push
While there are certainly better medications and treatments, it can be expensive for patients. A report issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine called for a federal initiative to invest in hepatitis prevention, access to treatment, physician training and disease surveillance, 89.3 KPCC reported. For those with hepatitis C, people can get treatments only at certain stages due to restricted health plans and the drugs' high cost.
The report suggested developing a national program that would provide medical care and supportive services for people with hepatitis. This would give uninsured or underinsured individuals the chance to access treatment. The medications can clear the virus in as little as eight weeks by taking a single pill, and federal involvement could help prevent deaths through better access to this option.
Limiting the extent of hepatitis
Hepatitis variants impact people worldwide, but it can be prevented and treated. As World Hepatitis Day approaches, inform patients about how different hepatitis forms are transmitted and how they can avoid contracting the disease. For patients with hepatitis, provide the best options for their strain.
With better accessibility to modern medicines and vaccines, thousands of hepatitis deaths can be prevented and hepatitis cases will be reduced. By staying away from infected sources and using available treatment and prevention options, patients will avoid contracting a hepatitis strain and drive toward the elimination of the disease.