Hepatitis surveillance system lacks funding

Last week, major viral hepatitis organizations HepVu and NASTAD released their second annual report, which found that U.S. jurisdictions lack the funding and resources needed to implement viral hepatitis surveillance programs, according to a HepVu press release.

This year’s report follows last year’s first State of Viral Hepatitis Surveillance Report. The goal of the report is to track how jurisdictions measure the impact of viral hepatitis on local communities and highlight areas where additional resources may be needed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 2.4 million Americans have hepatitis C and nearly 2.2 million Americans may have hepatitis B. Viral hepatitis surveillance systems are necessary to develop prevention and treatment strategies and to reduce disparities associated with viral hepatitis.

Viral hepatitis attacks the liver, which acts as the body’s filter. In fact, hepatitis means “inflammation of the liver.” It can lead to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver cancer, the need for a liver transplant, and death. The most common hepatitis viruses are spread through contaminated food and water (hepatitis A) and through sharing needles and sex (hepatitis B and C). Currently, transmission through blood transfusion is very rare. People living with HIV are at higher risk for co-infection with viral hepatitis. There are effective vaccines for both hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Additionally, hepatitis C is treatable in most cases. However, HIV and hepatitis B do not.

The Biden administration’s budget proposal to Congress this year includes a $5 billion plan to end hepatitis C in the United States by 2030, but the plan has not yet been funded.

This year’s report found that 70% of jurisdictions have viral hepatitis elimination plans in place, an increase from 43% in 2021. However, only 3% of jurisdictions said they could make progress toward the goal of eliminating viral hepatitis with CDC funds currently allocated to hepatitis surveillance, according to the data. Press release.

“The White House has made an unprecedented effort to fund a plan to eliminate hepatitis C nationwide, and key to that plan is the ability to provide basic measurements of the burden of infection at state and local levels that are currently unavailable through Emory Dr. Heather Bradley, associate professor of epidemiology and director of the HepVu program at the University’s Rollins School of Public Health, said in a press release.

“Our data shows that while many jurisdictions are doing commendable work with limited resources and developing elimination plans, most do not have the capacity to implement their plans,” she added. “With additional funding, jurisdictions can begin collecting the surveillance data necessary to fully understand the burden of viral hepatitis infection, understand systemic inequities in access to care, and work toward state and local elimination goals.”

For more information about changes in statistics from 2021 to 2022, click here.

To learn more, click on #viralhepatitis. There, you’ll see things like “2030 Hepatitis B elimination goal likely to be met,” “Cherokee Nation awarded $450,000 for linking hepatitis C to care plan,” and “Chelsea Clinton weighs in on elimination Viral Hepatitis Targets” and other headlines.

Source link

Leave a Comment