As researchers continue to focus on hard-to-reach populations for hepatitis C testing and treatment, the ongoing opioid epidemic presents an opportunity for prevention as treatment through outreach and education in the regions with highest injection drug use.
Healio Gastroenterology and Liver Disease presents the following reports on HCV prevalence rates in U.S. regions and among women that were related to increasing rates of injection drug use, new online interactive maps that pair HCV and drug use prevalence for clinicians and researchers, and positive outcomes from an urban clinic providing testing and treatment.
HCV prevalence remains highest in US West, Appalachian regions
Results from a national survey showed that hepatitis C prevalence was higher in the West and Appalachian states between 2013 and 2016 compared with other areas, as reported in JAMA Network Open.
“With the increasing availability of direct-acting antivirals, national and state-level public health strategies have raised elimination of HCV as a possible goal,” Eli S. Rosenberg, PhD, from the University at Albany School of Public Health in New York, colleagues wrote. “Accurate estimates of the current burden of HCV infection in each U.S. jurisdiction are critical to the policy, programmatic, and resource planning of elimination strategies.” Read more
HBV rates rising in women from same U.S. regions with drug-related HCV
U.S. states in the Appalachian region demonstrated increased rates of hepatitis B among women despite overall national rates of acute and chronic HBV remaining stable or declining among women and children, according to data presented at The Liver Meeting 2018.
“Hepatitis C prevalence among women of childbearing age has increased over the last year due to the injection drug use epidemic,” Tatyana Kushner, MD, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, said in her presentation. “This increase has been most pronounced in women and infants — implying mother-to-child transmission — especially across the central Appalachian region in the United States. However, national rates of hepatitis B have not been examined in this group of women of childbearing age and children recently.” Read more
HepVu releases interactive online maps for state-level HCV estimates
HepVu — an interactive online resource designed to visualize data on the U.S. hepatitis C epidemic — announced the release of new interactive maps that provide state-level estimates of HCV infections, according to a press release and online presentation.
The data come from a study recently published in JAMA Network Open and revealed an estimated 2.3 million cases of HCV between 2013 and 2016 in the U.S., with the highest proportions in the West and Appalachian regions. Read more
Rates of deceased donor organs with HCV, HBV, HIV increasing in US
Between 2010 and 2017, the number and percentage of deceased donor organs with a transmissible infectious disease — such as hepatitis C, hepatitis B or HIV — increased in the U.S., which may likely be tied to the ongoing opioid epidemic, according to a recent report from the CDC.
“These findings demonstrate the continuing need for identifying viral bloodborne pathogen infection risk factors among deceased donors to reduce the risk for transmission, monitor posttransplant infection in recipients, and offer treatment if infection occurs,” Winston E. Abara, MD, from the Division of Viral Hepatitis at the CDC, and colleagues wrote. Read more
Urban clinic sites link more than two-thirds of patients with HCV to care
More than two-thirds of patients with hepatitis C who visited a Federally Qualified Health Center in Philadelphia were linked to care, including both antibody and RNA testing, and many continued to medical evaluation, according to a study published in Hepatology.
“Scaling up treatment services in settings where HCV testing is offered may help to improve the HCV care continuum,” Catelyn Coyle, MPH, MEd, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and colleagues wrote. “Expanding the capacity of primary care providers to treat is feasible given the simplicity of treatment and the availability of supportive resources during training and treatment.” Read more