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Nation counts 8m hepatitis infections

Update: July, 30/2012 - 09:42

HA NOI – About eight million people in Viet Nam are infected with hepatitis B or C virus, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). This is higher than the world average.

WHO Viet Nam Country Office released the statistics on July 28 – the second World Hepatitis Day.

WHO said that globally, about 500 million people – or one in every 12 – had either form of the disease, yet awareness of the risk of infection remained low.

If left untreated and unmanaged, hepatitis B and C can lead to liver cancer or cirrhosis. In Viet Nam, liver cancer is the second leading cause of death in men.

Dr Fabio Mesquita, WHO advisor on HIV in Viet Nam, said developing national policies to diagnose and treat hepatitis was necessary to contain the disease.

In Viet Nam, routine immunisation for hepatitis B has been implemented for the past 10 years. In 2011, fifty-five per cent of newborns received a dose of hepatitis B vaccination at birth, and the coverage for the additional three dose vaccination reached 95 per cent.

According to a survey, vaccinations have led to a two per cent reduction of hepatitis B infection in children.

WHO is developing new guidance for screening, care and treatment of those with chronic hepatitis B and C infections. It will help countries make that treatment more accessible and affordable. — VNS

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