Policy Brief: Technical Considerations and Case Definitions to Improve Surveillance for Viral Hepatitis

Publications - Released in 2016

Viral hepatitis is a global public health problem of epidemic proportions that causes 1.46 million deaths each year. New infections caused by the five known hepatitis viruses – A, B, C, D and E (HAV, HBV, HCV, HDV and HEV) – can be prevented. In addition, testing and treatment can improve the health of persons with chronic infections. Unfortunately, many countries do not have the epidemiological information needed to plan, implement, monitor, evaluate and update national strategies for the prevention and control of viral hepatitis. The technical aspects associated with viral hepatitis surveillance are perceived as complex, and little guidance is available. In the absence of a sound evidence base, viral hepatitis remains a silent epidemic. Tools are available, however, to optimize surveillance and generate information that can effectively direct prevention, control and treatment policies.

In 2010 and 2014, World Health Assembly resolutions called for stronger surveillance of viral hepatitis. In response, the World Health Organization (WHO) has developed these technical considerations to assist and guide Member States in implementing and/or optimizing viral hepatitis surveillance.


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  • World Health Organization (WHO)