Egypt: Hepatitis C Infection Reaches Alarming Figures
November 9, 2010
With 9.8 percent of its population infected, Egypt has the world's highest incidence rate for hepatitis C. Health experts and researchers, however, believe the true figure could be as high as 20 percent.
"There are also the deals signed between the Ministry of Health and medicine companies," continued Wanees. "Many [HCV] medicines produced by Egyptian pharmaceutical firms are not verified in the West and proved to be inefficient. But they are still being prescribed to patients, and the government pays millions of pounds to purchase them." Poor and uninsured patients often resort to superstitious and primitive medical substitutes that can exacerbate their condition, he said.
Egypt's high prevalence dates back to the 1970s, when health authorities injected patients with tartar emetic to stop the spread of bilharzia, a water-borne disease. Many of the needles were unsterilized, spreading HCV to thousands of people.
The study, "Evidence of Intense Ongoing Endemic Transmission of Hepatitis C Virus in Egypt," was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2010;107(33):14757-14762).
Los Angeles Times
11.08.2010; Amro Hassan
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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