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 B: New therapeutic approach may help to cure chronic hepatitis B infection
Researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München, Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) have developed a novel therapeutic approach to cure chronic hepatitis B.
Anti-hepatitis medicine surprises
A new effective treatment of hepatitis C not only combats the virus, but is also effective against potentially fatal complications such as reduced liver functioning and cirrhosis.
Nanotechnology delivers hepatitis B vaccine
X-ray imaging shows that nanostructured silica acts as a protective vehicle to deliver intact antigen to the intestine so that it can trigger an immune response.
Checkmate for hepatitis B viruses in the liver
Researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich, working in collaboration with researchers at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and the University Hospital Heidelberg, have for the first time succeeded in conquering a chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus in a mouse model.
How common is Hepatitis C infection in each US state?
Hepatitis C virus infection is a major cause of illness and death in the United States and injection drug use is likely fueling many new cases.
New strains of hepatitis C found in Africa
The largest population study of hepatitis C in Africa has found three new strains of the virus circulating in the general population in sub-Saharan Africa.
High stability of the hepatitis B virus
At room temperature, hepatitis B viruses (HBV) remain contagious for several weeks and they are even able to withstand temperatures of four degrees centigrade over the span of nine months.
Findings could lead to treatment of hepatitis B
Researchers have gained new insights into the virus that causes hepatitis B -- a life-threatening and incurable infection that afflicts more than 250 million people worldwide.
How to cure more hepatitis C patients
The cost of cures for hepatitis C have been prohibitive, but experts who served on an NAS panel have a solution that will save more patients and incentivize drug innovation.
Hepatitis C: A novel point-of-care assay
One of the major challenges identified by the WHO in efforts to eradicate the hepatitis C virus is the diagnosis of chronic cases that are generally asymptomatic.
More Hepatitis News and Hepatitis Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at