Combating hepatitis B and C to reach elimination by 2030
In 2013, viral hepatitis was a leading cause of death worldwide (1.46 million deaths, a toll higher than that from HIV, tuberculosis or malaria, and on the increase since 1990). More than 90% of this burden is due to the sequelae of infections with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV).
Prevention can reduce the rate of new infections, but the number of those already infected would remain high for a generation. In the absence of additional efforts, 19 million hepatitis-related deaths are anticipated from 2015 to 2030. Treatment now can prevent deaths in the short- and medium term.
The 2014 World Health Assembly requested the World Health Organization to examine the feasibility of eliminating hepatitis B and C, and the 2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development commits to combating viral hepatitis (Target 3.3). WHO modelled options. The results of the analysis suggest that if the viral hepatitis response reaches five prevention and treatment service coverage targets (see Table 1), hepatitis B and C could be eliminated as a public health threat (i.e. 90% reduction in new chronic infections, 65% reduction in mortality compared with a scenario in which interventions would continue at the current level).