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Hepatitis C: One World, Many Faces

World Hepatitis Day is in 3 days, on July 28. Hepatitis C is a worldwide problem. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 130–170 million people have chronic hepatitis C, claiming more than 350,000 annual deaths. The countries with the highest prevalence of hepatitis C are Egypt (22%), Pakistan (4.8%) and China (3.2%). Unsafe injections using contaminated equipment are the most common transmission routes.

The second highest hepatitis C prevalence is in Pakistan. Population data from 2011 states that Pakistan is the 6th most populated country in the world. Using WHO’s estimate of nearly 5% prevalence rate, there are more than 9 million people in Pakistan with HCV.

As the country with the highest population, more people in China have hepatitis C, despite the fact that it is 3rd on WHO’s prevalence list. More than 41 million people have HCV. Add to that the fact that around 170 million people in China have hepatitis B and you have a country with a high incidence of liver disease.

Please join this awareness effort; spread the word. As Martha Saly of the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) says, “Viral hepatitis is a winnable battle.”

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