ECDC Director Marc Sprenger: “Hepatitis B and C are a serious health problem in the EU, tailor-made screening is important”Archived

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ECDC Director Marc Sprenger at the European Parliament Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) stressed the importance of the EU’s continuous commitment in the fight against hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

Speaking to the European Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) on 24 May 2011 ECDC Director Marc Sprenger stressed the importance of the EU’s continuous commitment in the fight against hepatitis B and hepatitis C (viral hepatitis). Many thousands of Europeans are infected with these viruses, which can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Following ECDC’s findings from a first set of reports in 2010, there is a significant and diverse burden of infection and disease due to hepatitis B and hepatitis C in Europe. There is good evidence that Hepatitis B vaccination is an effective prevention strategy, but only more limited evidence available on the cost effectiveness screening programmes aimed at vulnerable populations.

"If identified early enough, many people with Hepatitis C can be cured. Those with Hepatitis B can be treated”, Marc Sprenger told members of the Committee. However, setting up screening programmes is a major investment, so Member States will want assurances they are cost effective. Screening therefore needs to be adapted to the realities of the different epidemics in the Member States. ECDC is working on a toolkit to help countries conduct cost effectiveness studies at a national level.

Read more:

Read full ECDC Director speaking note

In brief: ECDC information sheet on the current situation of hepatitis B and C in Europe

Download ECDC Director presentation (ppt)

Follow ECDC on Twitter

Download ECDC report “Surveillance and prevention of hepatitis B and C in Europe”

Download ECDC report “Hepatitis B and C in the EU neighbourhood: prevalence, burden of disease and screening policies” (literature review)