WHO warns that the world is facing an epidemic of hepatitis “of unknown origin” which affects children

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the world is facing an epidemic of hepatitis “of unknown origin” which affects children, and has highlighted the “thousands of acute viral infections” disease that occur each year in children, adolescents and adults.

In this sense, the organization reported that it was working “side by side” with scientists and political leaders of the affected countries to try to understand the cause of this infection which does not seem to coincide with any of the five known types of hepatitis: A, B, C, D and E.

“To be more effective, hepatitis surveillance must be carried out at the community level by an efficient and integrated primary health care system with other health services that address the full spectrum of health needs,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus.

Although most acute hepatitis causes mild symptoms and even go unnoticed, in some cases, they can lead to complications and become fatal. For example, complications from acute hepatitis A and E infections caused some 78,000 deaths worldwide in 2019 and, at the same time, global disease control initiatives have prioritized the elimination of hepatitis infections. B, C and D.

Unlike acute viral hepatitis, these last three varieties cause chronic hepatitis that lasts for decades and which cause more than one million deaths a year from cirrhosis and liver cancer. Moreover, they are responsible for more than 95% of deaths due to hepatitis.

“Every 30 seconds someone dies from hepatitis-related causes, such as liver failure, cirrhosis and cancer“, said Tedros, who recalled that about 80% of people living with the disease do not have access to medical care or cannot pay for their treatment. To eliminate hepatitis by 2030, the agency of health of the United Nations called on countries to reduce new hepatitis B and C infections by 90%, reduce deaths from cirrhosis and liver cancer by 65%, diagnose at least 90% of hepatitis B and C cases, and treat at least 80% of eligible people.

“Low coverage of testing and treatment is the single most important gap that needs to be addressed to achieve global eradication goals by 2030said the WHO, to urge governments to increase the use of “effective” tools against the disease.

Leave a Comment