A viral infection, which spreads through blood and body fluids and invades liver cells to severely affect the liver, is causing the death of one million people worldwide each year. Today, more than 250 million people are infected with the Hepatitis BThis number is more than seven times higher than that of HIV patients, Nature reported last week.
By 2016, deaths caused by hepatitis B – which in turn triggered cancer of liver or cirrhosis – exceeded the number of deaths due to more feared diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. This is despite the fact that this variant of hepatitis can be prevented through a vaccine, and it is also possible to treat it with the same antiretroviral drugs used to fight HIV.
The infection is known as silent epidemic because initially its patients do not present symptoms. The main routes of transmission are mother-to-child blood during childbirth, or from injections and transfusions of contaminated blood – and unprotected sexual contact.
The World Health Organization says that the way to protect against this disease is through vaccine, which has an efficiency of 95% to avoid any chronic infection, is very safe and its protection lasts for at least 20 years.
The region most affected is Africa Sub-Saharan It is estimated that 6% of their population is infected and that less than one-tenth of their children receive the corresponding vaccines. In addition, the publication states that this area ranks last in interventions by several countries in terms of diagnosis and treatment of people living with the virus.
"It's a critical time for the region," said Philippa Matthews, an immunologist at Oxford University (UK). He also ensured that, unlike HIV, in the face of hepatitis B, no action was taken resources and education necessary to neutralize a disease that has been present in humanity for thousands of years.