THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Institute of Medicine
Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice
Committee on Prevention and Control of Viral Hepatitis Infections
Hepatitis and Liver Cancer:
A National Strategy for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis B and C
R. Palmer Beasley, MD, Ashbel Smith Professor and Dean Emeritus, School of Public Health, University of Texas, Houston, Texas; and Chair, Committee on Prevention and Control of Viral Hepatitis Infections, Institute of Medicine, The National Academies
Harvey J. Alter, MD, Chief, Infectious Diseases Section, Department of Transfusion Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.; and Member, Committee on Prevention and Control of Viral Hepatitis Infections, Institute of Medicine, The National Academies
Daniel R. Church, MPH, Epidemiologist and Adult Viral Hepatitis Coordinator, Bureau of Infectious Disease Prevention, Response, and Services, Massachusetts Department of Health, Jamaica Plain, Mass.; and Member, Committee on Prevention and Control of Viral Hepatitis Infections, Institute of Medicine, The National Academies
In the next 10 years, about 150,000 people in the United States will die from liver cancer and liver disease associated with chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C. It is estimated that 3.5–5.3 million people—1–2% of the US population—are living with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Chronic viral hepatitis infections are 3–5 times more frequent than HIV in the United States.
Because of the asymptomatic nature of hepatitis B and hepatitis C, most chronically infected people are not aware that they have been infected until they have symptoms of cirrhosis or liver cancer many years later. About 65% and 75% of the infected population are unaware that they are infected with HBV and HCV, respectively. Importantly, the prevention of chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C serves to prevent liver cancer because HBV and HCV are the leading causes of this type of cancer throughout the world.
Despite federal, state, and local public health efforts to prevent and control hepatitis B and hepatitis C, these diseases remain serious health problems in the United States. Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable sought guidance from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in identifying missed opportunities related to the prevention and control of HBV and HCV infections. The IOM report, Hepatitis and Liver Cancer: A National Strategy for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis B and C, makes recommendations aimed at reducing new HBV and HCV infections and illness and death from chronic viral hepatitis.
These briefings were for members of Congress and congressional staff only. The report was released to the public on Monday, January 11, 2010 and can be found, in its entirety, on the Web site of the National Academies Press.