World Hepatitis Day 2017
On the occasion of World Hepatitis Day, ECDC Director Andrea Ammon highlighted the need for Europe to scale-up coverage of testing, prevention interventions and linkage to suitable treatment services in order to achieve the target of eliminating viral hepatitis as a public health issue by 2030.
World Hepatitis Day is marked on 28 July each year to increase the awareness and understanding of viral hepatitis.
The five known hepatitis viruses are types A, B, C, D and E.
ECDC coordinates the enhanced surveillance for hepatitis A (HAV), B (HBV) and C (HCV) to help countries assess the hepatitis disease burden, evaluate existing prevention and control strategies, and to define epidemiological trends or transmission patterns. ECDC has identified a need to closer explore and assess the emerging threat of HEV to humans in EU/EEA.
Viral hepatitis affects millions of people across Europe but as many infections are accompanied by no symptoms, the ‘silent disease’ is often not diagnosed. Left untreated, chronic infection with hepatitis B and C may progress to liver cirrhosis or cancer. Acute HEV infections cause a self-limiting hepatitis, but can become chronic in immuno-compromised patients with the risk of liver cirrhosis.
In 2016, a regional action plan for Europe that aims to contribute to the implementation of the global viral hepatitis elimination strategy until 2030 was developed by the WHO Regional Office for Europe. This action plan particularly focusses on hepatitis B and C. In a joint analysis, ECDC, the European Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and the WHO Regional Office for Europe recently found that regarding the epidemiological and programmatic indicators of the action plan “current data sources in most EU/EEA countries are insufficient, particularly for assessing the epidemiological burden and for monitoring the different steps along the cascade of care”.
In short: Europe still has some way to go if it wants to eliminate viral hepatitis by 2030
ECDC, EMCDDA and WHO are working in close collaboration to help countries improve the quality of relevant data sources and support countries in their efforts to scale up prevention and control activities.
Latest on Hepatitis A:
Rapid risk assessment: Hepatitis A outbreak in the EU/EEA mostly affecting men who have sex with men, 3rd update, 28 June 2017
29 Jun 2017 - Third update of a previous assessment on the ongoing transmission of hepatitis A virus infection mainly affecting men who have sex with men in EU/EEA countries.
Hepatitis A virus in the EU/EEA, 1975–2014
28 Jul 2016 - A systematic review of seroprevalence and incidence comprising European surveillance data and national vaccination recommendations. This report provides a comprehensive picture of Hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection epidemiology in the EU/EEA between 1975 and 2014.
Vaccination: main prevention measure to address hepatitis A outbreaks among men who have sex with men
7 Jun 2017 - 1 173 confirmed hepatitis A cases involving three separate clusters have been reported across 15 countries of the European Union since June 2016. Several EU countries have seen large increases in hepatitis A cases in 2017 compared to previous years, and these are mainly affecting men who have sex with men.
Latest on Hepatitis B:
Hepatitis B and C prevalence in the EU/EEA – an ECDC review
21 Nov 2016 - A new ECDC review estimates the prevalence of both hepatitis B and C infection at around 1 percent respectively in the countries of the European Union and European Economic Area.
Latest on Hepatitis C:
Gaps in hepatitis testing and monitoring programmes across the EU/EEA: ECDC survey
31 May 2017 - The survey results suggest a wide variation in existing national testing policy and practice when it comes to hepatitis B and C – with overall limited monitoring of testing, diagnosis, and treatment across EU/EEA Member States. Many respondents expressed a need for Europe-wide practical guidance on how testing initiatives should be conducted, evaluated, and monitored.
Latest on Hepatitis E:
ECDC report: 10-fold increase of hepatitis E cases in the EU/EEA between 2005 and 2015
11 Jul 2017 - The incidence of hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection has been steadily increasing across the countries of the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA) with 21 081 cases reported in the EU/EEA over the last decade.
Facts about hepatitis E
Hepatitis E is an acute or chronic infection with the hepatitis E virus (HEV). In Europe, most of the infections are locally-acquired and asymptomatic.Read more