WHO urges stepped-up battle against hepatitis B

WHO urges stepped-up battle against hepatitis BThe world can beat the liver-attacking hepatitis B virus, which results in some 650.000 deaths a year, the World Health Organization said Thursday, releasing its first treatment guidelines for the disease. "Viral hepatitis is certainly an epidemic, a pandemic, but it is one that remains silent," said Gottfried Hirnschall, head of WHO's HIV/AIDS department. Hepatitis B can also transmit through unsafe injections during medical procedures and drug use, or unsafe sex, but once a child is vaccinated, more than 90 percent are protected from the virus for life. They will all eventually need treatment and a full third of them will to develop fatal cirrhosis and liver cancer, Hirnschall said.

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