Hepatitis B virus infection as a neglected tropical disease


O'Hara GA, McNaughton AL, Maponga T, Jooste P, Ocama P, Chilengi R, Mokaya J, Liyayi MI, Wachira T, Gikungi DM, Burbridge L, O'Donnell D, Akiror CS, Sloan D, Torimiro J, Yindom LM, Walton R, Andersson M, Marsh K, Newton R, Matthews PC.


PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2017 Oct 5;11(10):e0005842. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0005842. eCollection 2017 Oct


The Global Hepatitis Health Sector Strategy is aiming for “elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health threat” by 2030, while enhanced elimination efforts for hepatitis are also promoted under the broader remit of global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is an enormous challenge for hepatitis B virus (HBV) given the estimated global burden of 260 million chronic carriers, of whom the majority are unaware of their infection.

We here present HBV within the framework for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in order to highlight the ways in which HBV meets NTD criteria and to discuss the ways in which the NTD management paradigm could be used to strengthen a unified global approach to HBV elimination. The major burden of morbidity and mortality from HBV is now borne by tropical and subtropical countries. Many African populations epitomize specific vulnerability to HBV, so we here focus particular attention on Africa, both through focus on the existing published literature and through presentation of a unique data set of opinion and experience. However, the themes we represent are transferable to other low- and middle-income settings and are relevant on the global stage.

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