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Viral Hepatitis is more Fatal than HIV in Europe

Update Date: Apr 11, 2014 10:04 AM EDT

According to a new report, viral hepatitis kills more people than the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Europe. The Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2010 found that the number of deaths caused by viral hepatitis was 10 times higher than the number of deaths caused by HIV/AIDS.

"GBD 2010 is making a critical contribution to our understanding of present and future health priorities for countries and the global community. Although HIV/AIDS undeniably remains a key global health priority, the higher mortality from viral hepatitis than from HIV/AIDS in the EU means that hepatitis B and C must clearly now be counted among the top global and local priorities for health," EASL's Vice-Secretary Dr. Laurent Castera from the department of Hepatology, Hôpital Beaujon in Paris said in the press release.

The large epidemiological study was coordinated by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. The researchers examined the mortality rates caused by viral hepatitis and HIV/AIDs in Europe. In 2010, they found that the Hepatitis C Virus and the Hepatitis B Virus could be tied to a total of almost 90,000 deaths in the European Union. Separately, Hepatitis C Virus caused nearly 57,000 deaths and the Hepatitis B Virus was responsible for around 31,000 deaths. In the same years, HIV/AIDS were tied to a little over 8,000 deaths.

"Additional resources are needed to prevent, detect and treat hepatitis B and C in order to address these imbalances in major preventable causes of human death," Dr. Castera stated.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer. Hepatitis is caused by viral infections that lead to liver inflammation. In order to reduce mortality rates, better screening methods need to be created so that people with the infection can treat it properly.

The GBD 2010 is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The findings were presented at the International Liver Congress 2014.

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