Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Hepatitis C’ Category

WHO’s Global Hepatitis Report, 2017: Since 2000, deaths from viral hepatitis have increased by 22%.

Global hepatitis report, 2017: 325 million people, or roughly 4% of the world’s population, lives with viral hepatitis, and the disease causes 1.34 million deaths per year


In May 2016, the World Health Assembly endorsed the Global Health Sector Strategy (GHSS) on viral hepatitis 2016–2021. The GHSS calls for the elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 (reducing new infections by 90% and mortality by 65%).

This WHO Global hepatitis report describes, for the first time, the global and regional estimates on viral hepatitis in 2015, setting the baseline for tracking progress in implementing the new global strategy.

The report focuses on hepatitis B and C, which are responsible for 96% of all hepatitis mortality. It presents data along the fi ve strategic directions (strategic information, interventions, equity, financing and innovation) – key pillars of the GHSS to facilitate monitoring of progress in countries, regions and globally, and to measure the impact of interventions on reducing new infections and saving lives between 2015 and 2030.

Related links

New research: The absolute burden and relative rank of viral hepatitis increased between 1990 and 2013.

The global burden of viral hepatitis from 1990 to 2013: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013                                              Stanaway, Jeffrey D et al.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Lancet

“….Between 1990 and 2013, global viral hepatitis deaths increased from 0·89 million (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 0·86–0·94) to 1·45 million (1·38–1·54); YLLs (years of life lost) from 31·0 million (29·6–32·6) to 41·6 million (39·1–44·7); YLDs (years lived with disability) from 0·65 million (0·45–0·89) to 0·87 million (0·61–1·18); and DALYs (Disability-adjusted life-years) from 31·7 million (30·2–33·3) to 42·5 million (39·9–45·6).
In 2013, viral hepatitis was the seventh (95% UI seventh to eighth) leading cause of death worldwide, compared with tenth (tenth to 12th) in 1990……”


CDC: Eliminating Hepatitis C in the Country of Georgia


Global Disease Detection Stories: Going Above and Beyond to Eliminate Hepatitis C in the Country of Georgia

Georgia is the first country to take on the challenge of completely eliminating Hepatitis C (HCV) – a serious viral infection – and they’re using a team of international disease detectives to find out how it’s spreading.

To stop a disease in its tracks, you need to get ahead of it. Sometimes this means going off the beaten path, into remote villages where your GPS doesn’t work, into people’s homes and businesses. Sometimes the people there speak your language, sometimes they don’t. But when the disease you’re tracking doesn’t know any boundaries, neither can you.

In the country of Georgia, the culprit is Hepatitis C (HCV). HCV is a serious viral infection that, over time, can cause liver damage and even liver cancer. Almost 7% of Georgia’s population is affected by this disease — the third highest rate in the world. As part of an ongoing collaboration, epidemiologist Dr. Stephanie Salyer, who is based at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, and her team have been in the field conducting a door-to-door survey to find out how HCV is spreading.

A unique set of challenges

Particularly in the country of Georgia, language barriers can present a challenge. In some areas, Georgian citizens speak Armenian and Azerbaijani languages, but little to no Georgian. To address this, a diverse group of 45 field staff from Georgia’s National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), joined by Field Epidemiology Training Program residents from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, were selected and trained to conduct the survey.

Each team surveyed 25 households per day, which is harder than it sounds. Teams used GPS units and Google maps to locate homes to survey, but, particularly in rural areas, navigation proved challenging. More than once, teams – which included interviewers, nurses, and drivers — ended up hiking in the middle of nowhere past abandoned houses. The teams worked long hours and became “like a family,” said Salyer.

Perhaps the most difficult challenge was “hearing heartbreaking stories from people in the field with Hepatitis C. A lot of team members personally knew people impacted by this disease. That is why we were so invested in this project. This really highlights the tragedy of Hepatitis C in Georgia: it has touched almost everybody in the country,” said Salyer.

Putting data to work

Teams in the field used smart phone technology to enter the survey responses, automatically uploading the data into the cloud. Survey participants benefited by learning their HCV status, receiving health education materials in their preferred language, and getting their BMI and blood pressure measured. Public health nurses on the survey teams referred participants to local health care facilities and national information hotlines if needed.

Survey results are already informing national strategy. Experts assumed that HCV in Georgia could be traced back to intravenous drug use, reusing syringes, or being previously incarcerated. New information may indicate that transmission could also be associated with lack of infection control surrounding medical and dental procedures, and even tattoo parlors and manicure salons. Data is making researchers look in a new direction.

A strong commitment

The team locates survey households in Georgia.

The team locates survey households in Georgia. Georgia’s survey teams really went above and beyond.

The results from this survey will inform where to target prevention messages and who can benefit from treatment and screening. A remarkable public-private partnership with pharmaceutical manufacturer Gilead Sciences is supporting the program by providing 5,000 courses of the medication Sovaldi for the initial phase, followed by 20,000 courses of Harvoni free annually.

Several factors make HCV elimination a possibility in Georgia: the availability of effective diagnostics and treatment; the country’s small size and population; experience with HIV prevention and control programs; and strong political will and public support. Despite this, limitations exist in Georgia’s ability to track cases, reduce transmission, and provide care and treatment. Most infected people remain untested and unaware of their infection.

The principal investigator and one of the team’s phlebotomists even appeared on a local talk show to educate the public about Hepatitis C and encourage survey participation in cities.

Salyer recalls the commitment of the survey teams: “They went above and beyond. I would have to force them to come back at the end of the day.”

Progress in eliminating HCV in Georgia is a product of strong collaboration with the U.S. CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis in Atlanta and Georgia’s National Center for Disease Control. This work is coordinated through the GDD Regional Center for Georgia and the South Caucasus, which is part of CDC’s country office. Georgia is one of 30 U.S. partner countries named in the Global Health Security Agenda.  


At a Glance expanded expanded

  • Hepatitis C (HCV) is a serious viral infection that can cause liver cancer
  • HCV affects an estimated 7% of the population in the country of Georgia
  • Georgia is the first country in the world to try to eliminate HCV nationwide
  • The results from a collaborative survey will be used to target prevention messages and treatment

Six million Egyptians were infected with hepatitis C by unsterile needles during the country’s decades-long fight against schistosomiasis.

NY Times

**   “…, at least 10 percent of Egyptians, nearly nine million people, are chronically infected, the highest rate in the world….

**  “….Mr. Ellabbad…was finally cured of hepatitis this spring. An air-conditioning repairman, he took a three-month regimen that included sofosbuvir, first of the new generation of miracle drugs. The pills would have cost more than $84,000 in the United States.  He got them free from the Egyptian government, which paid about $900…..”

Pyramids at Giza, Egypt



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