Nav: Home

Elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030: What's needed and how do we get there?

October 03, 2016

During the annual session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in September 2016, the Member States adopted the European action plan for the health sector response to viral hepatitis. This is the first Action Plan for the Region and aims at guiding countries to achieve the set goal of eliminating viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.

The Action Plan, as presented to the Regional Committee, provides regional milestones and targets across the continuum of viral hepatitis services and proposes priority actions for Member States.

Viral hepatitis in Europe

Currently, the countries of the European Union and European Economic Area report around 57 000 newly diagnosed acute and chronic cases of hepatitis B and C each year. And these figures most likely represent an underestimate of the true situation. Instead, it is believed that an estimated 10 million Europeans have chronic hepatitis B and C infection, most of them without knowing it as hepatitis is largely asymptomatic.

Data indicate a greater disease burden for hepatitis C compared with hepatitis B across Europe: numbers and notification rates for hepatitis C infection are nearly twice as high as those reported for hepatitis B. Read about recent data and trends here.

A systematic review on Hepatitis A virus (HAV) seroprevalence and Hepatitis A incidence in EU/EEA countries shows that although HAV circulation has been decreasing steadily over the past four decades, an increasing proportion of the EU/EEA population has become susceptible to HAV infection.

What's important to achieve elimination

This first European Action Plan provides an important driver to aid countries in their fight against viral hepatitis, to which ECDC had the opportunity to contribute directly. Currently, the available surveillance data show on-going transmission of hepatitis in Europe and in order to interrupt this chain and to prevent further infections, European countries need to strengthen local prevention and control practices as outlined in the plan.

To achieve elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030, European countries need to ensure that:
  • those who might be unknowingly infected with viral hepatitis need to be identified through more effective testing and screening programmes;
  • treatment programmes and coverage of local prevention and control practices (e.g. harm reduction, vaccination, prevention of mother-to-child transmission) are scaled up to interrupt existing transmission chains and to reduce morbidity and mortality;
  • national surveillance systems need to be improved to better reflect the local burden of viral hepatitis.
It is especially important that those most at-risk for hepatitis have easier access to testing, for example, people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men or migrants from countries where the prevalence viral hepatitis is high. As reaching and testing those at risk of infection is still a public health challenge across Europe, ECDC also backs the efforts of the European HIV-Hepatitis testing week.

In order to help countries assess the hepatitis disease burden, evaluate existing prevention and control strategies and to define epidemiological trends or transmission patterns, ECDC coordinates efforts to improve the EU-wide surveillance data for hepatitis A, B and C.
Read more on viral hepatitis on the ECDC website.

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

Related Hepatitis Articles:

Hepatitis C increasing among pregnant women
Hepatitis C infections among pregnant women nearly doubled from 2009-2014, likely a consequence of the country's increasing opioid epidemic that is disproportionately affecting rural areas of states including Tennessee and West Virginia.
WHO's Global Hepatitis Report sets baseline to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030
The World Hepatitis Alliance today welcomes the publication of the first-ever Global Hepatitis Report by the World Health Organization (WHO), which includes new data on the prevalence and global burden of viral hepatitis.
Elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030: What's needed and how do we get there?
This first European Action Plan provides an important driver to aid countries in their fight against viral hepatitis, to which ECDC had the opportunity to contribute directly.
Discovery of new Hepatitis C virus mechanism
Researchers at Osaka University, Japan uncovered the mechanisms that suppress the propagation of the hepatitis C virus with the potential of improving pathological liver conditions.
Is Europe ready to eliminate viral hepatitis?
Currently, Europe records around 57,000 newly diagnosed acute and chronic cases of hepatitis B and C each year.
Why baby boomers need a hepatitis C screening
Hepatitis C affects a disproportionate amount of older Americans, born between 1945 and 1965.
Counterattack of the hepatitis B virus
The hepatitis B virus (HBV) infects liver cells. Drugs are available to treat HBV, but they rarely cure the infection, and so the virus typically returns after the treatment ends.
Hepatitis C tied to increased risk of Parkinson's
The hepatitis C virus may be associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease, according to a study published in the Dec.
The hepatitis A virus is of animal origin
The hepatitis A virus can trigger acute liver inflammation which generally has a mild course in small children but which can become dangerous in adults.
Modeling the helicase to understand hepatitis C
NS3 is an enzyme specific to the hepatitis C virus.

Related Hepatitis Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Moving Forward
When the life you've built slips out of your grasp, you're often told it's best to move on. But is that true? Instead of forgetting the past, TED speakers describe how we can move forward with it. Guests include writers Nora McInerny and Suleika Jaouad, and human rights advocate Lindy Lou Isonhood.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...