New data presented at the Public Health England (PHE) Research and Science Conference show deaths from serious hepatitis C related liver disease dropped from 380 to 319, owing to new curative treatments. Greater access to new curative treatments is also associated with reduction in people requiring liver transplants. Liver transplant registrations due to hepatitis C fell to a 10-year low of 63 in 2017, a 53% fall compared to pre-2015 levels.
PHE is urging those who may have been at risk of contracting hepatitis C to get tested, especially if they have ever injected drugs.
While England has exceeded the World Health Organization’s (WHO) target to lower hepatitis C related mortality by 10% by 2020, challenges still remain to meet the target of eliminating hepatitis C by 2030 at the latest, with 113,000 people in England estimated to be living with chronic hepatitis C in 2018.
In 2018, PHE and NHS England launched a national exercise to identify and treat patients who have been diagnosed with hepatitis C, and the NHS is in the process of contacting these patients to offer testing.
Professor Graham Foster, NHS national clinical lead for the hepatitis C networks, said, “NHS England has invested several hundred million pounds to cure thousands of people with hepatitis C, resulting in dramatic progress on saving lives and reducing the number of liver transplants.
“And, with support from drug manufacturers, there is now a real opportunity to eliminate hepatitis C in England before the World Health Organization’s goal of 2030.”