Progress has been made in the prevention of the spread
of hepatitis C virus in health care situations in Egypt, but a comprehensive
plan to prevent and control the disease is needed, according to results in the
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Egypt has a 10% prevalence of chronic hepatitis C among
those aged 15 to 59 years, making it the largest burden of the virus worldwide,
according to the report. Inadequate infection control during medical and dental
procedures is the primary reason for this burden. In 2001, the Egyptian
Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP) created a program to reduce this
burden. A care and treatment program was launched in 2008.
Among patients receiving dialysis, the annual incidence
of hepatitis C reduced from 28% to 6%, mostly in part to infection control
programs implemented at MOHP facilities. In addition, there have been 23
hepatitis treatment facilities established in the country, which have provided
care to almost 190,000 people with the disease.
During 2001, there were nearly 280 million injections
given in Egypt, and an estimated 8% of these may have been unsafe. When the
MOHP facilities were assessed, the following were found: there were few health
care workers with knowledge of infection control; there were few infection
control programs in the facilities; there was little understanding about
standard precaution among health care workers; and there were inadequate
procedures for equipment reprocessing, sterilization and waste management.
Infectious control guidelines were developed in 2003, and after the
implementation, improvements were observed.
The MOHP created the National Committee for the Control
of Viral Hepatitis in 2006, which developed a National Control Strategy for
Viral Hepatitis. This strategy called for effective surveillance, prevention
measures to reduce the spread of both hepatitis B and hepatitis C and expansion
of access to care and treatment. The program has cost the Egyptian government
$80 million annually.
CDC. MMWR. 2012;61:545-549.
The researchers report no relevant financial