The Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator is available to conduct Hepatitis Educational Trainings throughout the state. Should you want or need training on hepatitis please contact Brittany Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-233-7627, prior to June 30, 2014 to schedule your trainings for this calendar year.
This year there were three Hepatitis Testing Day Testing Events held in Indiana!
The Blackford County Health Department hosted an event on May 19, 2014 offering free testing with an appointment. They were able to test 30 Indiana residents for Hepatitis C. However, if you missed the event, you can still be tested by contacting them at 765-348-4317.
The Madison County Health Department also hosted an event on May 19, 2014 offering free testing. You can still be tested by contacting them at 765-646-9207.
Additionally the Richmond office of ASPIRE Indiana hosted an event on May 19, 2014 offering free testing.
Thank you to those dedicated to preventing viral hepatitis and your effort!
Surgeon General's Perspective on Testing Baby Boomers for Hepatitis C Virus Infection.
In early May, 2014 the Surgeon General released an article regarding testing Baby Boomers for hepatitis C virus infection. In this article he stated “I am very concerned that one in 40 baby boomers—about 2.1 million people—are infected with HCV.” Further information provided in the article stated that deaths associated with HCV have doubled from 8,000 deaths in 1999 to more than 16,000 deaths in 2010. Furthermore, deaths are expected to rise over the next 10-20 years! Closing remarks stated that those who are unaware of their HCV infection status cannot take action and the Surgeon General urged physicians to test all baby-boomers. To read the full article click here.
Free CME Course Helps Physicians Identify and Care for Patients with Liver Disease
Primary care providers are on the front lines of implementing the CDC’s recommendation to screen all baby boomers—people born from 1945 to 1965—for hepatitis C. In addition, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recently upgraded to B its recommendation for hepatitis B (HBV) screening of persons at high risk of infection. To help improve primary care physicians’ knowledge of these diseases, the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), in collaboration with Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO), the American College of Physicians (ACP), CDC, and Department of Veterans Affairs, has developed ACT-First, a free, online CME course. After completing the course, physicians will know which patients to screen for liver diseases, how to screen, what to do in the patient with positive serologies, what to tell the patient, and how to decide who is a candidate for therapy.
New CDC Web Page that Highlights ACA-Covered Preventive Services for Viral Hepatitis, HIV, STD's and TB
Under the Affordable Care Act, most health plans must cover a set of preventive services like shots and screening tests at no cost to you. All Marketplace plans and many other plans must cover the preventive services without charging you a copayment or coinsurance. This is true even if you haven’t met your yearly deductible.
To increase awareness of these no-cost benefits and support the provision of these services, CDC has information about the covered HIV, viral hepatitis, STD and TB preventive services on a new web page..
Rapid Hepatitis C Testing Among Persons at Increases Risk for Infection-- Wisconsin, 2012-2013
During 2003–2012, reports of HCV infection increased from 15 to 54 cases per 100,000 among persons aged <30 years in Wisconsin, and 58 percent of persons in this age group with acute HCV infection reported injecting drugs. To increase detection of HCV infection, the Wisconsin Division of Public Health (WDPH) piloted a program during Oct. 2012–Oct. 2013 that offered rapid HCV testing to clients of four agencies providing various harm reduction services to persons with drug dependence. During that period, 1,255 persons were tested using a rapid HCV test, and 246 (20%) of the results were positive. Most (72%) of the infections had not been reported to WDPH. A blood specimen for further testing was collected from 192 (78%) participants with positive HCV test results; among these participants, 183 were tested for HCV RNA using reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and these results were positive for 128 (70%) participants, indicating active infection. Use of the rapid HCV test detected previously unreported HCV infections and raised awareness of HCV. Persons identified with active HCV infection should be referred to medical care and counseled on ways to prevent HCV transmission to others. To read the full article in the MMWR, click here.
Primary Care Physicians Training Program Increased the Number of Patients Receiving HCV Treatment
In September 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded programs in Utah and Arizona to train primary care physicians to manage and treat hepatitis C infections. The programs were modeled after the Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes or Project ECHO, which was developed by the University of New Mexico. The Programs in Utah and Arizona recruited 66 primary care physicians, who were trained on HCV diagnosis and management and participated in weekly “teleECHO” session to present their patients with HCV and monitor their treatment with a team of specialist.
These programs showed the more patients with a HCV infection were receiving care and treatment. 280 cases of HCV were seen and 46 percent started treatment. To read more, click here.
Adding Interferon to Antivirals May Improve Response for Hepatitis B Patients
New studies presented at the International Liver Congress 2014 have helped clarify the optimal use of combination therapy with peginterferon and nucleoside analogues (NUCs) to achieve the best treatment outcomes in patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB).
In one study, CHB patients who had failed on prior long-term exposure to one of the nucleoside analogue (NUC) antivirals demonstrated high rates of complete response and HBsAg loss when prescribed a sequential combination of peginterferon and NUC.
Another study showed that adding peginterferon to the nucleoside analogue entecavir was shown to enhance response rates and viral decline in HBeAg-positive CHB patients with compensated liver-disease, was generally safe and well tolerated, and may facilitate the discontinuation of entecavir. To read the full article, please click here.