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National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable Observes World Hepatitis Day and Calls for Increased Federal Action
Date:5/19/2009

Greater Investments in Public Health a Must

Federal Leadership Needed to Focus Policy Actions at the Federal Level

WASHINGTON, May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, on the second annual World Hepatitis Day, more than 200 viral hepatitis groups around the world have planned observances to raise global awareness, and calling for international and national support for improvements in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and support for people living with chronic viral hepatitis B and C.

In the United States, where the need for awareness is especially urgent, the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) today called on the federal government to take action to improve its response to the hepatitis B and C epidemics in the United States.

Viral hepatitis afflicts more than five million Americans, making an undeniable case for investment in screening and treatment today to prevent a catastrophe tomorrow. Chronic viral hepatitis is the leading cause of primary liver cancer, which is one of the fastest growing cancers in the U.S. and the 8th leading cause of cancer death in Caucasians and the 3rd leading cause of cancer deaths in Asian Americans.

An actuarial analysis released yesterday found that 78% of Americans with hepatitis C do not know they carry the virus. The cost of advanced liver disease in HCV-infected patients will skyrocket 250 percent from today, reaching $85 billion in the next two decades without changes in how these patients are diagnosed and treated. (The report is available at: http://www.milliman.com/expertise/healthcare/publications/rr/consequences-hepatits-c-virus-RR05-15-09.php ) This shock
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SOURCE National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable
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