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News and Updates

Introduction                                                                            

Viral hepatitis, including hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, is a group of distinct diseases that affect the liver. Each has different hepatitis symptoms and treatments. Some causes of hepatitis include recreational drugs and prescription medications. Laboratory tests can determine hepatitis types (Hepatitis Health Centre. https://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/default.htm).

What to Know About Liver Disease and COVID-19

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions, including people with liver disease, might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. People with chronic liver disease, including hepatitis B and hepatitis C, may have concerns and questions related to their risk.

World Hepatitis Day is recognized annually on July 28th, the birthday of Dr Baruch Blumberg (1925–2011). Dr Blumberg discovered the hepatitis B virus in 1967, and 2 years later he developed the first hepatitis B vaccine

(CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitiss/awareness/worldhepday.htm). This was a significant breakthrough which resulted that organizations around the world, including WHO and CDC, commemorate World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness of the problem of viral hepatitis, which impacts more than 325 million people worldwide. It creates an opportunity to educate people about the burden of these infections, CDC’s efforts to combat viral hepatitis around the world, and actions people can take to prevent these infections.

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Recommendations for Hepatitis C Screening among Adults in the United States

Universal hepatitis C screening:

  • Hepatitis C screening at least once in a lifetime for all adults aged 18 years and older, except in settings where the prevalence of HCV infection (HCV RNA‑positivity) is less than 0.1%*
  • Hepatitis C screening for all pregnant women during each pregnancy, except in settings where the prevalence of HCV infection (HCV RNA‑positivity) is less than 0.1%*

One‑time hepatitis C testing regardless of age or setting prevalence among people with recognized conditions or exposures:

  • People with HIV
  • People whoever injected drugs and shared needles, syringes, or other drug preparation equipment, including those who injected once or a few times many years ago
  • People with selected medical conditions, including:
  • people who ever received maintenance haemodialysis
  • people with persistently abnormal ALT levels
  • Prior recipients of transfusions or organ transplants, including:
  • people who received clotting factor concentrates produced before 1987
  • people who received a transfusion of blood or blood components before July 1992
  • people who received an organ transplant before July 1992
  • people who were notified that they received blood from a donor who later tested positive for HCV infection
  • Healthcare, emergency medical, and public safety personnel after needle sticks, sharps, or mucosal exposures to HCV‑positive blood
  • Children born to mothers with HCV infection

Routine periodic testing for people with ongoing risk factors, while risk factors persist:

  • People who currently inject drugs and share needles, syringes, or other drug preparation equipment
  • People with selected medical conditions, including:
  • people who ever received maintenance haemodialysis

Any person who requests hepatitis C testing should receive it, regardless of disclosure of risk, because many persons may be reluctant to disclose stigmatizing risks (CDC Recommendations for Hepatitis C Screening Among Adults – the United States, 2020. MMWR 2020 (RR 69)