Aims and Objectives
Hepatitis is a serious hazard, leading to morbidity and mortality, that affects the quality of life. There are many causes of hepatitis, both infectious and non-infectious. Hepatitis can be acute or chronic. Infectious agents account for the majority of acute cases: hepatitis C alone accounts for approximately 20% of acute cases. Fourteen other families of viruses are also responsible for acute hepatitis. Moreover, bacteria, protozoa, parasites, fungi and algae can similarly cause acute hepatitis. With regards to chronic hepatitis, in addition to many other causes, viral hepatitis (hepatitis B with or without hepatitis D, hepatitis C, and hepatitis E) is of special concern. Autoimmune disorders can also lead to chronic hepatitis. We are all quite cognizant that nearly 170 million people worldwide are suffering from chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Likewise, it is estimated that the global reservoir of HCV infected individuals is on a steady increase, which is not limited to developing countries. In the USA, 18,000 new HCV infections occur each year, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which corresponds to approximately one new case every 30 minutes.
The aim of the Hepatitis Working Group is to work together at an international level, in multiple areas related to hepatitis with regards to education and research activities. Special emphasize is to be placed on clinical trials for treatment of HCV patients using newly developed direct-acting antivirals (DAA), and on HCV genotypes which have not been tackled by most of the ongoing studies, e. g., genotype 4.
- To involve junior colleagues. When the enthusiasm and creative capabilities of younger colleagues are combined with the experience and wisdom of senior colleagues, wonderful things can be accomplished.
- To hold “Hepatitis Symposiums” presented by members of the Hepatitis Working Group in all future meetings if possible, whether national, regional or international.
- To make intensive fundraising efforts.
- To carry out a study about prevalence and risk factors of asymptomatic hepatitis C virus infection in children. Following the availability of the new DAAs, perhaps identification of HCV early in childhood can alter the course of the disease. It is also important to take into account the long-term morbidity of the disease. The aim of this study is to identify the prevalence and possible risk factors of asymptomatic HCV infection in children and to detect the underlying signs and symptoms of liver disease associated with asymptomatic HCV in this category of patients.