A person dies from a hepatitis related illness every 30 seconds, with more than 325 million people worldwide being affected by the disease. While deaths from tuberculosis and HIV are decreasing, deaths from hepatitis are increasing. Since those living with hepatitis rarely show symptoms, many are unaware of the infection.
Viral hepatitis is an infectious disease that affects the liver and is known as hepatitis A (HAV), B (HBV), C (HCV), D (HDV) and E (HEV). There are vaccines available in a small number of countries for hepatitis A and B, including the US. However, there are no vaccines for hepatitis C, D or E although there is a daily medication for HCV, and the HBV vaccine can help prevent HDV in many cases. Reportedly, hepatitis B and hepatitis C are the most serious, and are the most likely to be chronic or have long-term effects. These two viruses are also the leading cause of liver cancer.
In 2017 The Hepatitis B Foundation reported 84 percent of the world to have access to the HBV vaccine, but only 39 percent provide the initial birth dose, at a baby’s birth, to prevent it. HBV is the most serious, common liver disease in the world and Center for Disease Control (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend the birth dose to all newborns within 24 hours of being born. Newborns are extremely vulnerable to the disease and the birth dose lowers their risk dramatically. The CDC reports more than 90 percent of unimmunized infants who get infected with HBV develop a chronic infection. If a child misses the hepatitis B vaccine, it is never too late to be vaccinated as an adolescent or adult, unless there has already been a previous infection or recovery from HBV.
In 2016 the WHO called for a global elimination of viral hepatitis by 2030. It set global goals of eliminating 90 percent of new cases of HBV and HCV, 65 percent of deaths, and treatment of 80 percent of people living with these infections. To help meet these targets, the CDC has been collaborating in recent years with countries around the world to enhance viral hepatitis prevention and control efforts. This is being done through their catalytic funding model, that requires low up-front funding and reduces cost overall. These CDC pilot programs are a vital way of reaching these goals by 2030.
To help detect hepatitis related illness, BioIQ has partnered with health plans to provide e-vouchers for the HAV and HBV vaccinations at over 12,000 retail locations across the country. We also offer a variety of other at-home preventative screenings and tests accessible through our digital platform, to help employers, health plans, and government agencies keep their population healthy and protected.