3% of Ukraine’s population is infected with hepatitis C virus, chief infectious diseases specialist of the Healthcare Ministry of Ukraine, head of the Bohomolets National Medical University Infectious Diseases Department Olha Holubovska told the round table “Hepatitis C virus: a strategy of struggle.”
“Recently, we have received reports of the central Healthcare Ministry Sanitary Epidemiological Station. The researches of hepatitis C virus antibodies in very different populations suggest that the true prevalence of antibodies (this is not equal to same number of people infected with hepatitis C) – is from 7 to 60% among the drug addicts,” Holubovska said.
She assures that Ukraine should introduce mandatory screening not only for those at risk, but for all the patients coming to hospitals.
“Screening regarding hepatitis C virus antibodies is a relatively inexpensive test. Not all patients with antibodies are infected with hepatitis C,” Holubovska said, stressing, however, that “only 15% of those infected with hepatitis C can recover because of peculiarities of the virus”.
According to the doctor, hepatitis C is a treatable disease, there are end-points of care, in contrast to hepatitis B.
“Serological window can be up to six months (that is, the patient may be already infected, the virus can be found in the blood, antibodies may not yet be),” Holubovska said.
According to her, the problem of hepatitis is important not only for Ukraine but also for the whole world.
“We live in the era of hidden epidemics. The true cause of hepatitis is not known in the world. In Europe, 2% of the population are infected with hepatitis C with,” she said.
Referring to the World Health Organization, Holubovska noted that much of the blood supply is either not tested or not tested properly and this contributes to the spread of hepatitis viruses