Dr. Mel Krajden: There’s lots of good news in the fight against hepatitis

Today, World Hepatitis Day, it’s important to acknowledge that more than 130,000 British Columbians are infected with hepatitis B and/or C.

That’s one out of every 33 people.

Enormous strides in hepatitis B prevention have been made through the use of publicly funded hepatitis B vaccination. It started with the vaccination of Grade 6 students in 1992 and was followed by the adoption of universal infant vaccination in 2001.

Last year, less than 15 acute hepatitis B infections were identified in the province.

In contrast, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C but it can be cured. Current antivirals can cure about 65% to 75% of infections. Soon, single daily combination pills with few side effects will be able to cure greater than 95% of infections. These new antivirals enable us to begin to dream about hepatitis C elimination.

Dr. Mel Krajden reports

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