In advance of World Hepatitis Day this Sunday, July 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) has released results of its first comprehensive international hepatitis survey, according to a WHO statement. It urges governments to act against the five hep viruses—A, B, C, D and E—which can cause severe liver infections and lead to 1.4 million deaths every year globally. The survey covers 126 countries and identifies successes and gaps in the international response. Many countries are only now realizing the magnitude of the hep threat to public health. Only 37 percent of countries reported having national strategies for viral hepatitis. Although 82 percent of nations have hep surveillance programs, only half of them monitor treatment for hepatitis B and C, which are responsible for the most severe illnesses and deaths. WHO hopes the report will help prioritize raising awareness, obtaining evidence-based data for global action, preventing transmission and finding effective programs for screening, care and treatment worldwide. WHO is developing new international hep screening, care and treatment guidelines.

To read the statement, click here.