England will be the first country in the world to eradicate the hepatitis C virus

England will be the first country in the world to eradicate the hepatitis C virus

England will be the first country in the world to eradicate the hepatitis C virus

Hepatitis C to be wiped out in England in THREE YEARS: Nation best placed to eliminate virus that can lead to cancer and liver disease

  • The NHS is set to eliminate the virus by 2025 – five years ahead of global targets
  • Mortality fell by 35% in six years, well above the WHO target of 10%
  • England should be the first country in the world to declare itself free of the virus

Hepatitis C could be wiped out within two years thanks to a campaign to find and treat those most at risk.

The NHS plans to eliminate the virus by 2025 – five years ahead of global targets.

Mortality fell by 35 percent in six years, significantly exceeding World Health Organizationa target of 10 percent.

This puts England first as the first country in the world to declare itself free of the virus, which can lead to liver disease and cancer.

England will be the first country in the world to eradicate the hepatitis C virus

Hepatitis C (pictured) could be wiped out within two years thanks to a campaign to find and treat those most at risk. The NHS is set to eliminate the virus by 2025 – five years ahead of global targets

WHAT IS HEPATITIS C?

Hepatitis C is a virus that can infect the liver.

It is transmitted by contact with the blood of an infected person, for example by sharing unsterilized needles, razors and toothbrushes.

The infection does not cause symptoms until the liver is significantly damaged, which means many people have the infection without realizing it.

Symptoms can include muscle aches, fever, feeling constantly tired, loss of appetite, stomach pain and nausea.

If left untreated, hepatitis C can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening liver damage.

About 120,000 people in the UK and 2.4 million people in the US live with chronic hepatitis.

Most are not aware that they are infected.

The progress comes after a five-year deal worth almost £1bn to buy the antiviral drugs, which have a 95 per cent cure rate.

Dedicated ‘Find and Treat’ programs have also helped the NHS reduce cases of hepatitis C among vulnerable communities such as the homeless.

So far, about 70,000 patients have been cured of the disease as part of the program, which has drastically reduced the need for liver transplantation.

Rachel Halford, from the Hepatitis C Trust, described the progress made as ‘truly astonishing’.

She said: ‘Now we need one last concerted effort to make sure we reach all those who might be affected and achieve elimination.’

Health officials said the number of people seeking liver transplants because of the virus has fallen from about 140 a year to less than 50 in 2020.

People in the most vulnerable communities saw the greatest benefit, with 80 percent of treatments provided to the most vulnerable half of the population.

This includes children born with the infection, with more than 100 children receiving antiviral drugs to treat the infection in the past year alone.

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS England’s national medical director, said the NHS was ‘world-leading’ in its drive to save lives and eradicate hepatitis C, while also tackling ‘significant’ health inequalities.

He said: ‘Thanks to targeted screening and because the NHS has a proven track record of achieving medicine contracts that give patients access to the latest medicines, we are on track to exceed global targets and become the first country to eliminate hepatitis C by 2030, which will be a significant achievement. ‘

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that, if left untreated, can cause liver cancer and liver failure.

It usually shows no symptoms until the virus has done enough damage to cause liver disease.

Symptoms can include fatigue and difficulty concentrating, and the virus has also been linked to cardiovascular disease, mental health problems, kidney disease and musculoskeletal pain.

Because homeless people are at greater risk, the NHS has been working with charities, including St Mungos, to find and treat those who are vulnerable to the disease.

Specialist teams provided same-day appointments to help complete the entire course of treatment.

Drug use, sharing toothbrushes, razors, and other general lifestyle factors associated with rough sleeping are among a number of reasons that put homeless people at greater risk of contracting hepatitis C.

Sara Hide, from St Mungo’s Hospital, Oxford, said: ‘With hepatitis C treatment now less invasive – an 8- to 12-week course of medication – we’ve seen people take up our screening services more and more. We also screen for other conditions at the same time to identify clients who may need additional health support.’

Health Secretary Lord Markham said: ‘I am grateful to NHS staff and our partner charities such as St Mungo’s for the fantastic progress made so far. The mortality and prevalence of the virus has steadily declined thanks to improvements in diagnosis and access to treatment.’

In other health news…

A table for one? Ladies having lunch eat more calories than those who dine alone, study reveals

Stroke victims to 48 PERCENT more likely to make a full recovery when diagnosed using AI technology, trials suggest

One in FOUR older Britons the fear of having to resort to DIY dentistry because a top dentist is attacking a ‘broken’ system

title_words_as_hashtags]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *